Caregiver on Vacation

June 7, 2010

We have a caregiver on vacation this week. N, who does our weekday shift is taking a much deserved week off. Of course, this has an effect on Lauren. She doesn’t like her schedule messed with. She likes the basic structure of her week to remain constant. So…she isn’t happy… and then she is happy… and then she isn’t happy. What fun! Not that this is an unusual reaction for Lauren. She reacts to other changes, or an oncoming seizure, with mood changes and displeasure expressed with rocking and noise – much noise. But this week, I am responsible for helping her through the mood swings, while still trying to do most of what I need to do this week. This doesn’t work for me or for Lauren.

In self-direction, the issue of substitutes or filling in the gaps when a caregiver is sick, on vacation, or dealing with a personal responsibility, is very different than that of a provider. We could hire substitutes, but it’s difficult to hire a substitute to cover multiple shifts with different responsibilities and duties. I’d love to hear about how someone else is dealing with this issue. It is a worry. I’m not always going to able to fill in the gaps. How do I plan for that?

As for Lauren, I can certainly understand why she is unsettled, changes are worrisome for her. She has experienced caregivers who are here one day and simply gone, never to return, the next. Both N and I have been telling Lauren that she will only be gone for a week, but I think Lauren is still concerned. So, I will do my best to distract her. I pulled out some CD’s she hasn’t heard in awhile, and she is laughing right now as one just started to play. Tomorrow, we’ll go to the mall, one of her favorite places. We’ll have lunch in the Food Court – oooo, even better. But, it is also my parent’s sixty-fourth anniversary. It is something to celebrate and the celebration should not wait. So, I will do a small dinner party and prepare something blueberry, my father’s favorite, for dessert. I will try to involve Lauren in the preparations, if her mood allows. And, then it’ll be Wednesday. I have appointments. She will have to go with me. I hope she is in a good mood. I’ll worry about Thursday and Friday later.

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