wings and things

Routine to the rescue!

on July 1, 2014

I have never been that crazy about routine. As a younger person I had a reputation for being a bit erratic, despite being a nurse and then a lecturer (jobs in which I was never late but always nearly late!) When Anthony went into the nursing home (nearly two and a half years ago), there was a lot of grief, confusion and uncertainty, but no routine.

Now we have a routine and my heart has stopped racing around anxiously. It is so simple and easy and I wonder why I didn’t do this before but I guess the new routine coincides with a noticeable deterioration in Anthony’s mobility and mind function.

For a couple of weeks now, I have been going into the nursing home for most of the afternoon. In Anthony’s bedside cupboard I have lots of snack foods and drinks, cup-a-soups, brandy, wine, chocolates and sometimes I bring fresh cheese and olives.

If the heater isn’t turned on I reach up and press the button, after kissing my husband hello. Then I put a blanket from home on Anthony’s legs, adjust the chair, change the TV station to something I want to watch, move my chair right next to his and hold his hand.

Sometimes (lately) Anthony says, “How do you always know where to find me?” Sometimes he can’t get the words out – they stumble and crouch, frustrated, just above his lips. Sometimes he drools into what we call ‘the dribble rag’ because his swallowing reflexes have slowed down. Sometimes he tries to squeeze my hand in his and there is a small smile.

So I am now in the nursing home with Ants from 2-5pm most days and sometimes from noon. Does this make me a caring-wife hero-type? No! I don’t even understand what has happened to me to make me all-of-a-sudden so attentive! I love him, of course but I hated going into the nursing home for awhile/off and on. Now I actually can’t wait for 2pm every single day.

This routine has really helped me cope.

PS. This new routine means I don’t have much time atm to follow, comment on other blogs but you are all on my radar.

68 responses to “Routine to the rescue!

  1. shoreacres says:

    I know I don’t have to tell you this, but the routine is helpful and supportive for Anthony, too. Structure is important for all of us, and when we can’t create it for ourselves, it’s a blessing to have others maintain it. Like you. πŸ˜‰

  2. routine can sometimes be a lifesaver–you seem more peaceful now and at ease–I am so glad

  3. Vicki says:

    I’m sure Anthony is loving your daily routine. He’s seeing so much of you now, that he may well feel he’s at home again.

    The routine is just like being home and married. Men like routine, despite what they might say to the contrary. I think women can be a little more flexible, but when flexibility combines with anxiety, it becomes stressful. The best way to de-stress is to adhere to a fixed routine for a while. Dare I say, you’re loving the daily routine too? You don’t have to think up new or different outings for Anthony. You don’t have to worry about other visitors keeping him company on the days you couldn’t be there in the past.

    Being together so much on a daily basis must be like renewing your marriage vows (if I’m allowed to be so personal). It’s re-enforcing your love and commitment to each other and as such, it must be like a second honeymoon.

    I’m delighted to hear it’s all working out so well.


    • jmgoyder says:

      You are right in everything you say here, Vicki – I wish I had realised some of this routine stuff earlier! Thank you so much for your ongoing support despite my not keeping up with you!

      • Vicki says:

        No worries about keeping up with me, Julie. Family & your own personal writing are far more important.

        I haven’t done much of late anyway. I’ve been pretty much housebound with our wild weather here in Melbourne and worsening sciatic pain. Can’t wait for Spring.

  4. And you are in my heart too Julie. Thank you for this beautiful post. There is as others have said, saving grace in routine when it brings peace and ease to our hearts and minds.


  5. bulldog says:

    Julie what a wonderful post, one that shows a far more relaxed (if I may say so) person… yes you’ve accepted the changes in your Hubbie and have settled to his future, what can you do about it? Nothing … so why not enjoy an afternoon with him almost in a homely atmosphere that is both pleasing to you and to Ant… Man I loved this post… Sterkte Julie… Linda has had the pleasure of having to nurse me for a change and says she now knows what it’s like on the other side… Ants never will have that privilege, but we that are the normal care givers know what routine can do for ones own sanity…

    • jmgoyder says:

      Oh Bulldog it is so much easier now – and I know how you and Linda know how this kind of situation is. Love your comment and you and hope to catch up with your blog soon. Sterkte!

  6. I learned the comfort of routine when I was 16, living in Germany as an exchange student. I knew then, that I needed it. But I came from a family that thrived on impromptu fun (and chaos) and it took me until middle age to make routine happen in my life. I’m so glad you’ve found something to help you cope. (And I appreciate the reminder to keep to my routine!!)

    • jmgoyder says:

      Ha! I have always hated the idea of routine – now I love it!

      • I think that it’s sad to stick to a rigid routine just for the sake of the routine. (it’s uptight, in my opinion)

        But I do find it a comfort in times of stress, and like a certain amount of it at all times, because life is always a little bit stressful.

  7. I like routine; in my own mind I love to fancy myself as a fly by the seat of my pants adventurous person, but in reality routine centers me. I am so glad that you have found the routine that helps you and Anthony; it can be very comforting and soothing to know where you are going to be and with whom. Hugs Jules!

  8. Julie, i’m happy to hear you’re finding comfort in your new routine. Hugs to you. x

  9. I’m so glad you’re less ‘frazzled’ and at peace with the ‘routine’….. you have most of the comforts of home… wine, and cheese and other goodies but of course most of all’re with Anthony.. Diane

  10. (smiling) I got a picture in my head of you and Ants sitting side-by-side, him squeezing your hand and smiling at you. Glad routine is helping Julie! ❀
    Diana xo

  11. Good to here this Julie. Taking care of you as/well as/Ants. Enjoy

  12. Terry says:

    I can remember when Al was bed bound. A routine did occur. His baths about the same time each day. Offering sips of water or food around the clock. Changing his brief every two hours. I think that routine helped me in ways of organizing my own day, but I also realized this routine was bad, as Al was headed towards heaven. Love you my friend. Enjoy this valuable time

  13. FlaHam says:

    Julie, You have been my hero for a long long time. Your routine works well for you and Ants, and it gives you the comfort and peace of mind you have sought for so long. Be safe, be loving, and take care. Bill

  14. tersiaburger says:

    I am so sad for Anthony’s deterioration. Routine is a lifesaver and I am glad that you are more at peace. You are always in my mind and heart Julie even though I don’t comment or blog much anymore. You are one brave lady and I salute you! Much love and gentle thoughts from my heart to yours.

  15. susanpoozan says:

    You’re just a wonder, glad the new regime is easier on you.

  16. Julie, I think you are just yourself… a very special, good person. ❀

    • jmgoyder says:

      Sorry to have lost touch GG – I read your posts but no time to comment atm – you are a legend btw!

      • Julie, I’ve sort of lost touch for a little time, here. I’ll feel much better once I go to my doctor’s appointment later this week. :)))) Thank-you for your kind words. ❀

  17. FacetsofLucy says:

    Priceless time for you both.

  18. tootlepedal says:

    Routine eases the mind and takes away the pain of making choices in ordinary matters so it is a sensible choice when you have serious matters to deal with.

  19. Rhonda says:

    I agree with what has already been said here. The routine is a coping mechanism for both of you and I am glad you’ve adjusted to it so well Jules. especially knowing it’s eased the constant feeling of panic/or lack of control. love you xo

  20. It makes you Anthony’s caring wife hero. πŸ™‚ I’m glad you have this with him.

  21. Routine will help Anthony as well

  22. You’re doing great!

  23. Lisa Rest says:

    Agree with all of the above. On a much smaller scale I am sure routine has saved me more times than I can remember. A foundation to build on. πŸ™‚

  24. My Heartsong says:

    If I didn’t have routine I would get depressed and not function well, but I sure love to break routine so I “get” what you are talking about.

  25. my first thought when i read anthony ask how you know where to find him was how reassuring to know that someone loves you and will always know where to find you. you are such a dear person and though i miss reading more often what you are up to i am smiling knowing that you have found a way to be with the man you love under such difficult circumstances and are taking care of you. big hugs and love my friend

  26. Trisha says:

    I’m glad you’ve found a routine that makes everything a little easier to deal with. Routine can be very comforting and yet, like you in the past, I haven’t always gotten myself into one.

  27. Judith Post says:

    I love routine, always have. It gives me a foundation to build the rest of my life around. Which means, it’s flexible, but I like it. Glad you’ve found yours. And I’d bet a lot of us have been there/done that with family, etc. We understand time limits. So enjoy your routine and your Anthony:) It makes me happy.

  28. I’m glad you have found something to make this hard time more manageable, and I’m sure Anthony is helped by it whether or not he can sufficiently verbalize it. No one want to suffer alone.

  29. Tiny says:

    I had to smile when I read the “never late, but always nearly late”. That’s always been me too. I believe there is certain degree of security in a routine, it makes life a bit more predictable and stable. Happy you have found what works well.

  30. Lynda says:

    Hero? Perhaps so, Julie.

    Or, perhaps is is acceptance of what is and your ability to make peace with that. A routine is easier for you, and great for Anthony. When everything is so strange, confusing and unpredictable for him, then how wonderful that you are the one thing that is not.

    • jmgoyder says:

      It is such a relief that we are now in the routine phase Lynda. Thx so much for your support. Sorry for losing touch with your blog – will catch up later. Jxxx

  31. I find everyone needs a certain amount of “routine” in their lives. We need anchors, and Anthony seems to be yours. Happy for you!

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