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Lots of new experiences

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

In Japan, spring is a time of new beginnings, as I suppose it is everywhere, but here, even the school year starts in April (in New Zealand, too, I think.)

My last year as a full-time teacher has been completely online. What a strange last year to have after 24 years in the same school! But this year has been strange for everyone, hasn’t it! I’m officially retiring on March 31st, but I have nothing more to do as a full-timer because it’s the spring vacation. I’m continuing as a part-timer from April 1st in the same school but on a newly-built campus in a different part of town. I’ll have no office to keep my stuff so it’s going to have a very different feel.

I want to continue teaching to keep myself active but I’ve had doubts about the part-time work because caregiving for DH took a new twist this year. His other conditions are all related, but cancer was a new one on us. It sounds scary, but the outlook is good. Other conditions of his have caused more trouble, so it doesn’t feel scary to me and not particularly to him, I don’t think. People said, “Your caregiving load will increase,” and I thought, “Why should it?” but they were right. I’ve had to learn to do incision care and ostomy care, both firsts for me. It’s actually interesting and satisfying when I get good results, but I am busier than I would otherwise be.

I went on one of the long hikes with two friends I do sometimes. DH was in hospital, so I was freer in a way, but I had to go to the hospital in the afternoon for training for his care. The faster woman obviously wanted us to crank things up from our usual already quite fast pace. I wasn’t altogether happy but I wanted to get to the hospital on time anyway. The other friend likes to chat, but I couldn’t concentrate on a second language, on the fast pace, and on the path with loose stones, and I sprained my ankle. My daughter had to substitute for me at the hospital. When DH came out, he couldn’t walk, and I could barely walk. Not good. Those long hikes, often on unsafe ground, have to go, methinks. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to deal with that - the two friends are already raring to go again.

DH was determined to get back on his feet. The first two days at home, he dragged himself out of the house and then got stuck on the concrete outside the front door. My daughter and I had to get an ambulance or he would not have got to dialysis. The next day the same thing happened, this time when he wanted to get out of the house to his favorite coffee shop. My daughter cut her date short and came back home and did most of the dragging back into the house. Thirty-six-year-old muscles work better than seventy-year-old muscles, especially with a sprained ankle. Now he can walk and we went to the coffee shop, but it’s still a bit precarious.

Today I went to one of those friends’ laughing class. It was fun, and the other three women are lovely. One of them wants me to start an English conversation class. My friend said I should! Yeah right! I do want to some time in the future, but I had to explain that I have too much on my plate at the moment. Tomorrow night is my Zoom book group. I’m looking forward to that. A friend there has a disabled husband so I don’t have to explain anything. I can just sit there and talk with my glass of wine in my hand. Aaaaaah!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Oh I can only tell you that caregiving escalates in increments so sometimes it’s a sneaky pete. BUT you’ll know when you need help or someone else to take over the reins. Glad that your DD could step in for you when you sprained your ankle. Good that DH wants to get back on his feet, but sorry it was a bit premature!

    That sounds lovely to do your Zoom book group with a glass of wine and just listen when you need to.

    HUGS and just know, you’re doing the best you can. Don’t be afraid of asking for help. Took me a long while to come to that realization!

    Blessings with all the changes and hope you can enjoy your retirement a bit!
    47 days ago
    I'm glad that you are finished with your full-time teaching, and hope that your ankle is getting better quickly.

    47 days ago
    I think it's a good sign that your DH is so determined. May leave you breathless though.
    Life changes are always hard and take some adjusting. You'll work it out.
    Sorry you hurt your ankle, but do you really want to give up those hikes?
    Don't forget "ME" time. It's super important.
    Sending hugs; you've got this!
    48 days ago
    Well, it's been sort of a rough ride, hasn't it, a little too much adventure all of a sudden, but my goodness, Margaret, you are such a champ! I'm in awe of your positive attitude about the new challenges you face. It's just so wonderful that you have your daughter with you to provide the physical and emotional support. I'd say that's lovely compensation for things having gotten even more unpredictable and hard. Hang in there, my amazing friend.
    48 days ago
    Sounds like you have everything worked out in a way that is comfortable for you. I do hope that faster "friend" offered at the very least an apology for putting you in a position where you endangered yourself physically. Good call deciding this type of hike is not for you.

    49 days ago
    emoticon Always growing and changing! A bit of self-care may have you giving up your speedy walking partner. If you get hurt you will not be able to help with DH's care...and if you aren't even enjoying it enough for conversation it might not be the thing for you anymore!
    50 days ago
    Sometimes, you just have to brace yourself and say no, and stand your ground. If you do look after yourself, you’ll be in no fit state to look after anyone else...
    50 days ago
    I can see your plate is overflowing---I am glad your hubby is home and may be continue to improve. Best wishes for good days ahead!
    50 days ago
    Lots and lots of changes my goodness: you have such a capacity to cope with aplomb!!

    You will know if or when you want to retire completely from teaching . . .wonderful that you have your daughter close by and she's able and willing to help. And wonderful you're able to enjoy your time with your DH as he recovers: that "stubbornness", so inconvenient, is perhaps the same quality of character that will help him get as well as possible?

    I've got easily twisted ankles too. Special compression hiking socks inside my special hiking boots help a lot: and I'm hoping to wear 'em both out!!
    50 days ago
    You may have to be very forthright with your hiking friends about your current time and concerns, asking them to be willing to change up your socializing activity at least for the short-term. I've had to do that with some long-time friends.
    50 days ago
    You really do have a lot on your plate, even with retiring from full-time teaching.
    I know it’s been a very difficult year for you having to learn to do everything virtually.
    I don’t envy you that experience but I’m sure it stimulated your brain in many new ways.
    I will tell you that since I retired completely I have never been happier and I loved loved teaching.
    Of course, my three grandchildren came boom boom boom within five years of me retiring, and then their daddy got sick so I’ve been pretty busy the last 10 or 12 years.
    Please continue to take care of yourself in any way that makes you feel good.
    50 days ago
    Well, sweetie - it's never too late to think about complete retirement from school. Everyone has an adjustment and I know you were thinking you needed "something" to keep you connected with the outside world - but honey - that is one gigantic world. It will come to you and ask you to join in. So don't feel like you "have to" keep teaching. You might much rather "teach" outside of the school room.

    But take it slow. And spend all your abundant spare time on pampering you. You won't grow stale or stupid. You'll feel blessed.
    50 days ago
  • no profile photo MLR_00
    50 days ago
    Your positive attitude shines through your description of experiences that would lay others low.
    I wish you well as you deal with all the challenges right now.

    I have "floppy ankles" Yeah it's a thing, so any hiking must be done very carefully.
    Watch the ground and carry a hiking stick. Well, I will once I stop being a hermit.
    Also I found that compression socks add stability. Not the kind they use in nursing homes, but but intended for runners & walkers.

    50 days ago
  • EISSA7
    So glad that both you and DH are on the mend; chatting on Zoom with friends and a glass of wine in hand sounds perfect!! Congrats on full time retirement AND as far as part-time, you’ll figure it out the same way you adjusted to online teaching, I think! Walking on flat paths is my speed....no unsafe paths for me!
    Carry on, my friend, you are doing a fabulous job with your full plate!
    50 days ago
    Many changes to your life and lifestyle Margaret, I applaud you trying new things to enhance your retirement.
    I have a feeling you won't be slowing down any time soon.
    Hope DH continues to do well, good that your daughter has been at hand too.

    50 days ago
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