I have been tired. There is no surprise in this. But the surprise, to me, comes when I understand how being tired interferes with my ability to have healthy boundaries with people. This isn't usually an issue for me. I've been guilty of having boundaries which keep people out, but it's rare for me to lower those to the point that I allow people to use me. It's happened a couple of times in the past few months, though.
Case in point: Father-in-law came home from the hospital on Monday. His surgery was very long (about 8 hours), but they were able to save his leg. He's tired and in pain. But he's not an invalid. I forgot that in the midst of packing and moving and unpacking and losing things and trying to work and live life. So I went to check on him Tuesday morning. He asked me to help with his pain medication, which I did. That was silly. He's perfectly capable of getting his own medications, and he needs to do that. Then he asked if I would help with the blankets on his bed, which I did. Also silly because he's supposed to do as much for himself as possible. Then he asked me to empty the bottle of urine on his dresser, rinse the bottle, and return it. I balked for a moment. Then, wanting to get out of there and back to work, I did it.
About an hour later, I heard him in his room moving things around, unpacking, etc. And it dawned on me that he DID NOT NEED ME TO HELP WITH THAT LAST TASK! In fact, he was perfectly capable of using the toilet. And I got angry.
I'm still a little angry. But I also understand that this happened because I was too tired to say, "Nope. That's your job, not mine." The result: I haven't been back down to see my FIL since Monday. Yesterday at dinner he asked if I was upset with him. I'm not able to have that conversation with him yet without throwing something at him, so instead, I made a list of everything I've had to do for the past two weeks (including transporting him to and from the hospital), and everything I have to do in the next few days. And I mentioned that I'm very behind at work (note: I'm writing this and not working now, so that's not really valid). Then I mentioned that the stress of this was causing me some problems.
And Darrin backed me up 100%. He's a little angry about the pee bottle incident, too.
I don't mind helping. I don't mind giving companionship. I DO mind being taken advantage of when I'm too tired to realize it's happening. And I don't need people in my life who will do that. This is the conversation I need to have with FIL. I am not his nurse.
A physical therapist came by yesterday. FIL told him he doesn't need physical therapy. He needs someone to help him move furniture and boxes and unpack. Physical Therapist said that's not his job. I need to take a page from Physical Therapist's book.
So today I have been doing work to regain emotional stamina. I've done some relaxation exercises. I was going to run, but the wind is daunting. I have a feeling I'll get back and be exhausted which is not the point of running. I've read a bit. I've stayed away from work and will tackle that later today. And I'm trying to think of all the ways my being emotionally healthy is good for everyone I love. And it is. I know this.
My new home is lovely. And it has zero storage and cupboard space. This is a problem that is solvable. My FIL is not. He has to solve his own problems. And if he thinks we're upset at him, well, he's not wrong. In a few days, I'll be strong enough to talk with him about it.
We have lovely neighbors. Three have stopped by to introduce themselves. One couple brought us cookies. A widow who lives across the street brought us a brightly flowering plant. She has a lovely yard and identified some of my trees for me. I have a weeping cherry. I think everyone should have one of these in their yard. I'm deeply in love with it. And a man from down the street who is clearly autistic brought me his business card on Tuesday and told me that we're supposed to put our trash out that night or very early the next morning. Which he repeated four times. It is, apparently, very important to him that we don't miss trash day. I sort of love him.
So things are not horrible. And I'm working on me. And I have a weeping cherry tree with gorgeous blossoms. Everyone should have one.