I’m beat. Wiped right out. But that’s okay, because J and I did it – we got out to see my parents, had lunch and talked just like we’d planned, and then stopped in for a few minutes to see her parents, too!
This morning was pretty rough. Getting up at 7AM is no longer one of my strengths (if it ever was), and while I don’t remember everything I do remember being confused and pretty anxious at times. We left the house and stopped at the store and split up – I went to pick up the flowers I’d ordered yesterday afternoon while J went to pick up stuff for lunch and snacks. We got back into the car and hit the road.
I kind of faded in and out for the first hour or so, and probably wasn’t the greatest travel companion. Oh, I should mention that J was driving, so me fading in and out wasn’t particularly dangerous, but I feel bad for not chatting more.
The roads were good and as we left the city, traffic thinned out. After a while the skies got a little darker and there was some fog/mist/drizzle but it wasn’t collecting on the car or the roads. There was a pretty coat of hoarfrost on the trees for a good part of the way:
We got to my parents’ place and rang the doorbell. Dad opened the door, said “hi!” like he was greeting a package delivery (they were expecting a package), and then stopped and stared at us for at least five seconds when he saw that it was us. He got all excited and ushered us inside and I think I got the biggest hug from him that I can remember. It was wonderful to see the smile on his face and J and I took off our shoes and went to sit down in the living room – a living room that had blinds, furniture, and paint I’d never seen before.
Dad mentioned that Mom was going to be home soon, so J got all sneaky-like and moved the car a couple of houses down, then the three of us talked until Mom got back. I gave Dr C a call and told her we’d made it and thanked her profusely for her help (she was also very happy to hear we’d made it). A few minutes later we saw Mom turn into the driveway and waited while she unlocked the door and walked in… and also froze when she saw us. She was very happy and there were more hugs exchanged and when we brought out the flowers she said she thought she might cry.
The four of us had a really good talk, then Dad and I went out to the garage to look at his new and old snowblowers, and J and Mom put together the lunch stuff. We sat down for lunch and talked more, and it was SO NICE to see my parents happy like that. They’d sounded down all week and to see them cheerful and happy and excited was fantastic.
J and I had put together a bag of things like I described yesterday just in case there were problems, and I’d planned to head out to the car for a few minutes to calm down if things got to the point where they felt like they were spinning away on me. I had worries and anxious feelings running through my head the whole time we were there, but for the most part I was able to push them to the background and concentrate on the conversation and what was going on around me. I did use the little leather bean bag that FA made for me, and between that, focusing on my breathing and the “5-4-3-2-1” technique a number of times, and my hat soaking up the flop sweat, I didn’t have to go outside or awkwardly excuse myself once.
Even just writing that out feels really good!
Concentrating and working to keep the worries and the compulsions at bay is a lot of work, though, and even though we’d only been there for about three hours, I was getting tired near the end of our visit. J and I had set a particular schedule, though, so we didn’t have to worry about five more minutes here or there – everything was fixed.
We got ready to head out and there was another round of hugs and well-wishes. I can’t describe how good it felt to see my parents smiling like they were, but unfortunately another part of me was also keen on getting going.
We then went to J’s parents’ place and stopped in for a short visit, which was also really great. I didn’t know where to sit because they ALSO had new furniture and stuff that I don’t think I’d ever seen before. We had a good chat and talked about quite a few different things in the 15 minutes or so that we were there. It’s funny – I hadn’t seen my father-in-law for a long time and now I’ve seen him twice in two weeks. No complaints, by the way!
It felt good to be there, too – the last time I was there was even longer ago than the last time I’d been at my parents’ place. I am very fortunate to have in-laws as supportive and encouraging as they are – they’re nothing like the ones you see on TV or in the movies!
As J and I got ready to hit the road for home, I felt a little guilty that I wasn’t at my best while we were there. I was pretty tired by that point so I may not have been as talkative as I would’ve liked. If you read this, sorry about that – I really enjoyed seeing you guys!
Originally, J and I had planned that she would drive out and I would drive some or most of the way back. Unfortunately, I was pooped at that point. J, however, surprised me by announcing that she was feeling fine and perky and didn’t mind doing the drive. I offered a few times on the way home that if she was tired we could stop or I could drive; she was fine all the way home. She and I have very different driving backgrounds – she’s more accustomed to driving in the city, and I grew up in the country so I’m most comfortable on the highway. Once again, though, she did another amazing thing and drove the whole way today. NICE JOB, SWEETIE!!!
As we got closer and closer to home, I could feel the need to be home ratcheting up in my chest. By the time we pulled into the driveway it was probably good the neighbours weren’t outside because I may have hugged them. We got inside, shut the door, and I leaned against it with my eyes closed for a couple of seconds, feeling the relief that home was still there, still looked the same, still smelled the same, and still felt the same.
We decided to watch a show while we were having supper, so J went downstairs and told me not to hurry. I sat on the couch in the living room for a few minutes and had a bit of a cry – there were a million emotions running through my head at the same time. I was so happy that we’d been able to make the trip, so happy that my folks and in-laws are doing alright, and so happy that things had gone so well. At the same time, I felt the guilt about not being able to do that trip for the last couple of years and the amount of effort and planning that had to go into it (we used to be able to just toss a couple things in a bag and go). I also hate the uncertainty that goes with being sick and the knowledge that even though today worked out, it may not work tomorrow, next week, or next month. But it might. I won’t know until the next time.
I straightened myself up, got changed (back into shorts, yeah), and went downstairs and watched two episodes of Disenchantment and had supper and talked with J. Now we’re well into the evening and I’m not sure what’s going to happen next.
J has tomorrow off and I might be going to do some volunteering at the church. But I may not. What I am sure about, though, is that I’ll be thinking about today for quite some time. Man, what a day!
Thank you so much to everyone who’s stuck by me and supported me so much: J, family, friends, those in the psych careers and community… so many people! Today would never have happened without all of your patience, advice, and strength you’ve given to me. “Thanks” seems so inadequate but I don’t know how else to say it. So, THANK YOU!