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Blogs of Writer, Artist, Photographer, & Caregiver Joanne D. Kiggins

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Location: United States

Joanne has published more than 2,500 articles and was award recipient of the 1990 Woman of the Year for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, for her accomplishments and excellence in journalism and to the community. Her co-authored book, “Unforgettable Journey,” won fifth place in the Grand Beginnings romance contest. An excerpt from her WIP, “Unearthed,” placed her fifth in the Absolute Write Idol contest. Most recently, her essay, “Perseverance,” is published in the Stories of Strength anthology in which 100% of the profits are donated to disaster relief charities. Her most recent articles were published in ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest, AbsoluteWrite.com, and Moondance.org. She has a monthly freelance writing column at Absolutewrite.com. Currently, she is the sole caregiver for her 85-year-old mother.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Power Outage and No Day Care

When I pulled up to the day care this morning, there were no lights on inside. Evidently, high winds intermittently knocked down trees and power lines and the day care was within that power outage. They were on the phone calling to find out how soon power would be restored when we walked in. Their battery emergency power unit kicked in so there was heat and emergency lighting. I had second thoughts of leaving her, but figured Duquesne Light would have them up and running in no time being that they are a care facility. Well, that time didn’t come. I received a call at 9:00 requesting me to pick up Mom because Duquesne Light told them they probably wouldn’t have the power back on until 6:00 PM. The day care’s battery power died after two hours and they had no way to make breakfast or lunch and the building went dark when the emergency lights went out, so they called everyone and requested them to pick up their loved ones.

I wasn’t feeling well when I got up this morning and was looking forward to getting a few hours sleep. If I felt better, I was going to suggest that Two and I go out and do something—bowling, movie, anything to get out of the house and do something different. After I received the call to pick up Mom, I burst into tears—not because I had to pick her up, but because I realized how much I cherish my time with Two and because I realized how totally exhausted I’ve become. The way I was feeling, the last thing I wanted and needed to do was jump back into the car and drive. I needed rest—even if that rest was only to lie on the couch and relax.

It was strange walking into the building when I picked up Mom. There wasn’t the normal hum of conversation, chairs moving, and faces glancing toward the door to see who was being picked up first. The room was dark and quiet. I was filled with an uncomfortable and eerie feeling seeing only the silhouettes of all the clients huddled at the one large table in the front of the room waiting for their loved one’s to show up. The usual smiles were replaced with worried lines and wonder. I could hear one of the caregivers reassure a client that their loved one would be there soon and s/he wouldn’t be stuck there in the dark. I could only imagine how strange and frightening the stillness and darkness felt to them.

Naturally any change in our loved one’s routine muddles their thoughts, so when Mom walked in the house she wasn’t sure where she was; yet she headed straight for the bedroom to change clothes because that is normally what she does. I guided her away from the bedroom and into the living room to sit in her chair explaining that it was only 10:00 AM and we had the whole day ahead of us.

And indeed we did! My head was throbbing, my stomach and chest felt as if someone had beaten me with a baseball bat, my legs felt like rubber, and Mom was all ready to go to day care. She didn’t remember that she had been there and sent home because the electric was out, so we went through the “what day is this?” and “do I go to club tomorrow?” questions all day. Each time, I explained that she was at club for a few hours, but the power was out, so they sent everyone home, and she would go back tomorrow.

Mom knew I wasn’t feeling well, so after lunch she sat in her chair in the living room and colored while I stretched out on the couch where she could see that I was resting and knew I was OK.

After she was in bed for the evening and I knew she was sleeping, I went upstairs and fell asleep across the bed and hence a later post. Three hours rest and I’m going back for more. Night all...

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Blogger nancy said...

i'm sorry the darn weather caused the day care to experience a power outage. as much as our LO's require routine, we as caregivers quickly rely on some of their routines as well.

here's hoping the power is restored by tomorrow and that you and two can find some relaxation as well. hope you get a good night's sleep with no unexpected visitors. (((hugs)))

1/09/2008 11:31 PM  
Blogger ~Betsy said...

I'm sorry the weather got the best of your electric. The storm was pretty wild (though I slept through all of it) and our electric went off and on all night long.

I hope you are feeling better today and can get back to your routine. (((hugs)))

1/10/2008 9:09 AM  
Blogger Cinnamin said...

I can't imagine how confusing this must have been for those attending day care! Hope you are feeling better today!! That wind must have blown clear across the country! In CA we've had horrible winds, I'm reading that the center of the country was hit with tornados !! And now, PA too? What's up with THAT?!? Take care!

1/10/2008 1:48 PM  
Blogger Annie said...

I'm sorry you're feeling poorly and tired. Hope you were able to rest!

1/10/2008 6:17 PM  
Blogger rainbowheart said...

I hope that you get to feeling better soon.

1/11/2008 10:29 PM