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Smoke And Mirrors

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

It's been almost two months since the accident, all of it a blur, except the last few days.

I remember things, not dates, times, or many people's names or faces, although there were many.

There's been a lot that's happened on the flip side of the coin, the one people don't think of, the role of caretaker, a manager, wading through applications, having food brought to my door by people I've never met, not remembering to eat, not keeping my schedule, that is so important in a bipolar world.

Our every waking minute  has been wrapped around Jeff and what we could do for him, physically, emotionally, spiritually. I've failed miserably in every way. Nikki, though, well Nikki was a trooper. Her room is right next to where Jeff had been confined and she was easy access, she never complained once.

Trying to stop a seriously injured man from doing things he shouldn't be doing, all while trying to stay calm, to breathe, and to realize how many of his actions were caused by narcotics, pain, frustration and anger, and attempting not to lash back has been trying.

I have been going to weekly counseling, instead of every couple of months, and have stepped up my psych visits so he can monitor my meds in order to be watchful of anything that might happen. They both have told me, my therapist and my psychiatrist, the same thing, numerous times, get away for an hour or even a day, ride your motorcycle, they told me roughly how many hours to take a week to ensure I could walk the fence as long as possible without falling. They reminded me that my emotional health was as important as Jeff's physical healing, and that it should not be ignored. We can't both be down.

So I did. When Jeff had more mobility, my son and I followed doctor's orders, or I should say suggestions. We took the entire day, after making sure Jeff would be attended to every minute, we left on our motorcycles. We rode one of my favorite rides. If you're from here, you'll know how Hwy 14 travels to Stevenson along the Columbia River. We stopped for lunch, I think it boosted my son's esteem a bit to, for once, buy his mom lunch. We then rode to The Dalles, because I will not cross the Bridge of the Gods, and rode back home on I84 taking in the beauty of the Gorge from the Oregon side. All together we were gone just short of seven hours.

We were gone and free from decisions, turmoil, and restraints. We enjoyed ourselves, and looking back, I would do it again. It was a great time to think of nothing but my son, the wind, the motorcycles and the scenery of the Gorge. It was therapeutic, as my doctors told me it would be.

I spoke with several people, and received judging looks from a neighbor or two, but none of what they thought mattered, I had to realize, What mattered was that I danced the delicate dance that was before me, while taking time for myself, and caring for Jeff.

I've attempted to stay strong. We worked with organizations on fundraising ideas and I think we have some pretty good ones so far. There are a lot of "behind the scenes" things happening that most people don't know about, and how can they? I don't write about them. Just for an FYI, a short synopsis on what's being planned. There a couple of poker runs, a 50/50 raffle, we received some excellent ideas from a veteran biker that has much experience with things like this. We're also planning another benefit poker run in August, as well as some silent auctions, some boisterous, competitive auctions of home baked goods, and other items that people in the community have graciously donated. So there's a lot going on, and a lot to be done, but I won't be walking you through it step by step, and I may not mention it much. 

The planning, the talking, the meeting, the researching, the idea tossing, that goes into fundraising. It's an entirely different world to me, and to those around me.  It's as if we're walking in the dark with no flash light, no sense of direction. But we will come together and we will do everything we can for Jeff. All of that along with his fundraising site should allow us to keep our heads a little about water while we regain momentum and are able to return to full force.

For me, being a person with bipolar, holding all of that together, and attempting to keep the train moving is difficult to say the least. So many people that haven't walked in my shoes, thank goodness, cannot understand how important it is for me to not just care for Jeff, but also care for myself. Whether that be riding my motorcycle, taking my mind off of the happenings here by thinking about a tattoo way down the line, or thinking of our 25th anniversary trip bought entirely with airline miles (that thankfully they allowed me to postpone as long as we take it before next April) and a charge of $10 dollars to my account, they are all ways of coping with a very serious change in our lives.

We're to a point now where Jeff is able to walk without the aid of crutches, but he can't work, physically, for months. That is scary, how do you keep a train running when there's something blocking the way? He's seeing a physical therapist three times a week, he's swimming some and he's following the orders of the PT. He's determined, he's strong willed, and well, he's Jeff.
We've discussed many avenues, many paths, and many situations, and have yet to come up with a solid game plan. I think we have one in fluid form, that needs to be firmed and initiated, but all we can do is to take one step at a time, one breath at a time.

So when you read my posts, or see my posts to Facebook, you have to remember there are several people attempting to cope here. There's no harm in my being silly, or seemingly frivolous with my ideas.  I'm not ignoring Jeff, I'm not ignoring the seriousness of the situation, I'm simply trying to take time for myself, to think of things that take my mind off of the everyday adjustments we've had to make.

There's not a thing wrong with letting my mind wander into mystical, exciting places, it it is what allows me the ability to cope with what we're going through, as a family, with the changes and with the everyday reality.

So realize, what you see, what your hear, what you think, may not be reality at all. I may just handle things differently than you. Jeff sticks to his doctor's orders, I stick to  my doctor's orders.

I also won't write about every little misstep in the road, or how many brownies we baked, or what we're doing behind the scenes. I'll write about what makes me happy, what takes my mind off of reality and allows me a few minutes to escape into my own world.

I will attempt to keep regular updates on Jeff's fundraising site, and to all those that have donated, thank you so very much, and for you that haven't, I ask you to consider helping to ease the burden my husband is carrying on his shoulders, even if it is only a note of encouragement for him. You can also tweet or post to Facebook directly from the site. We're asking you to help raise awareness and spread his word through out social media.

I have the widget posted to my side bar, but will post another link here as well. There are some people that have felt more comfortable sending a check or cash, and all of the monies collected go into a separate account so they are not mixed in with anything else. If you do want to donate and would rather do so by cash or check, please email Karli Cunningham, she sat up the fundraiser and is handling that end of things. There is a link to her email address on the site itself. She can give you her address or the account number so you can deposit your donation yourself. If you have not yet visited the site, I encourage you to pop in, look around and see what's happening!

And a little reminder to us all



Outcast June 19, 2013 at 2:18 AM  

It's crazy how difficult things have been and that it's over 2 months ago that this horrible incident happened. It's great to see from all the emails I've received from you and your awesome daughter on the donations website that show that Jeff is improving though it's been a very intense and agonising process, especially for you, Jeff and your family. You've done amazing though, you've done so much and most certainly have covered yourself in glory during this whole thing, you should be very proud Diva, you've done amazing and you'll continue to do so.

8 Ball Brian June 19, 2013 at 8:35 AM  

You aren't the only one who won't cross the Bridge of the Gods. At least not on a bike. Even for people without bipolar, getting away for even a few hours once in a while is necessary. You have to find someway to let off some steam or you'll explode. Generally, explosions don't do anything but cause even more devastation. Wishing you all the best, and hoping Jeff is able to keep himself mentally challenged as well as recovering physically. Know you all are in my thoughts.

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