Why is it that during the night when nature calls, I pop out of bed. Eyes partially closed, I stumble to the bathroom to do what needs to be done. Including washing my hands and flushing. Retrace stumbled steps back to bed. Sleep seems to return as soon as my head rests on the pillow.
In the morning when the alarm sounds I prefer to hit snooze. Recently, I re-set the alarm closer to the time I actually got up after repeated presses to snooze. This seemed like a great idea. It actually worked for a few days. I find myself hitting snooze again. Again. The last thing that I want to do is get out of bed. Cozy. Comfortable. Groggy.
This morning pattern is one of the reasons that I have decided it is time to seriously look into retiring. I want to sleep. Get up when I feel that I am awake enough to exercise before showering. Dawdle. Read something while sipping coffee. Enjoy a second cup of coffee. Pick up my phone and scroll, read, delete e-mails.
Only then, figure out what to do the rest of the day. At that point it will be writing time. If there is nothing else that needs immediate attention, I will write until I feel like stopping for the day. Otherwise, I will stop and do whatever else it is that needs to be done. Laundry is something that can be done during writing. Put a load in to wash. When I need to stretch, transfer the wash to the dryer.
As kids, we helped Mom with load after load of wash. In a wringer washer. There was a system to efficiently use the water. The washer was full of hot water and two side by side sinks (I think we called those wash tubs). The wash water started out hot. Too hot to put a hand in after the clothes agitated enough. We used a broken off broom handle to grab up a piece of clothes and feed it through the wringer into the first rinse tub. Sufficiently swish, through the wringer again into the second rinse. Swish. Through the wringer into the laundry basket. Up the basement stairs and out to the clothes line to hang.
In the winter we would take the wet clothes to dry at the laundromat. During the summer months we would take on the wash, wring, rinse, wring and hang by ourselves while Mom was at work. Back in the 1950’s doing the laundry was almost a form of entertainment. And suspense. Who would get their hand caught in the wringer today? You would think that as a result of that happening so many times that we would all have long, slender hands and fingers. We don’t. One thing for sure, bed sheets always had such a great smell after hanging to dry on the clothes line. Rarely do I see clothes hanging on a line any more. I am grateful for the automatic washer and dryer I have now.
The floor can even be swept while I write because I have the coolest robot. After it is charged it can be set for a thirty minute job or a two hour roam through the house. It is only for hard surfaces – not carpet. It has a microfiber cloth on the bottom that picks up dust and dirt. Until I find replacement clothes, I just clean off the collection then brush it with an old tooth brush. Ready for the next tour of duty. If I forget to block of the step down to the office/library, the ‘bot ends up like a turtle on its back. Multitasking made easy – as long as little red doesn’t get stuck under a bed. That requires a search and rescue mission. So far I have always been able to find my little helper.
On days that I have scheduled hospice visits, writing will be limited to one or two hours. Many of my family members were in hospice care but I never witnessed the experience first hand until Mom’s. The hospice philosophy makes good sense to me. When the patient’s condition can no longer be improved or cured with traditional medical intervention make the patient comfortable. It is called palliative care. No tubes or artificial life support. Just manage the pain. Keep the patient comfortable.
It is surprising and sad to learn how many people have no one to visit them. No one to sit bedside to stroke their hair. Hold their hand. Tell them that its okay to just let go. No one. As a hospice volunteer, I visit patients. Some do have family who may not be available or live far away. There are others who have no living relatives. I visit. I don’t change their bedding or clean up bodily fluids. I just visit. How the time during the visit is spent depends on each patient. I become their friend. Sometimes they want music. Sometimes they want some one to watch a sporting event with them.
Sometimes they need to talk so I listen. Sometimes I will read to them. Sometimes they just find comfort knowing some one is sitting with them. Always, I feel like I bring them caring. Sometimes, I feel that I get more from being there than they do from me being there. I know that they appreciate the visits. It is a gift that we give to each other. I will always make time to visit hospice patients. It is the most fulfilling volunteer experience I have ever had.
It may be time for you to consider volunteering. Hospice visits may not be your calling; try to find something that moves you.
Make your own Happy Trails.