Tonight is my last night here. It's been a wonderful time. And yet as always there is drama. I didn't expect less. Having the proper expectations has been very, very good.
The best part, far and away, has been that I really, really know my niece now. I get big smiles when I enter a room, I have made her laugh and laugh, I've given her a bath and "pat, pat, pat"ed the water with her. I've heard her first words in the weeks they are new. I've watched her approximate about 200 more words and try hard to figure out this talking thing. I've seen her crawl everywhere and have logged miles helping her toddle around the house holding my fingers, always stopping to look at favorite things in the house. I watched her try to walk up a wall to her favorite, this very guady, smiling sun in the entryway. It did not work. I've gotten to snuggle and rock the baby who does not snuggle, literally for the first time, and today she was comfortable enough to bury her head in my shoulder when feeling shy. Best of all, this afternoon I got 3 very, very gummy wide open mouth kisses.
I've also had fun. I've spent time at the beach 3 days, walked to a nature preserve thing and through it to the sound and played like kids in the ocean with my sister and her husband. For years I've not been able to tolerate the sun and heat, but we actually found a beach where there is enough breeze I've managed afternoons there. That part is incredible.
I've read a book and a half; I've barely read a book since Emsam and the increased energy entered my life. During this last 8 months I've not been able to read much because I fell asleep every time I tried.
I've had a few naps, desperately needed ones.
I've been able to have something of a break from asthma. I've had to do my treatments and keep an inhaler with me, but it's been used once a day, one day not at all, and those have all be en either smokers I didn't anticipate or stores that sold strongly scented candles/incense/soaps. Away from quite so many allergens I've been able to gain some confidence in my ability to recognize the start of a reaction and to treat it immediately. I've also learned why the nebulizer treatments are valuable, although I've been rather lax with them, doing 2-3 daily rather than 4.
The sad things are both big and little. On the little side there is a fireplace in the kitchen here that was never finished. It sticks way out and we all tripped over it. Last night I tried to walk around the table that is in the middle of the kitchen to get food, tripped over it and heard that dreadful snap of breaking bone. I will never know how I calmly got the 3 feet to the other end of the kitchen and put my plate down, controlled the tears that came automatically but wouldn't help the baby, and finally when asked if I was ok said "I think I broke my toe. I heard it." followed by every horrified adult saying "I did too". There are 2 broken but in my usual weird manner of handling pain I didn't notice the one that is broken more severely even hurting until I had eaten and dared to look. The other very, very good thing is that Dr. Body keeps me supplied with vicodin because he says it is wrong to have no option but tylenol, ever, when that isn't effective for something like this when motrin may help someone else but I can't take it. I just let him know when I'm using it so that if I am random drug tested for work he is able to say he did give me to ok to use it. The ok was really given in about 2006, but he verifies it again each time I take one so that I can honestly say it was ok'd.
The worse thing is my brother. He and his wife are mid-divorce and he is grieving. He is also drinking way, way too much and with an enormous family history of alcoholism this scares me. We're talking steady drinking, pretty much all day and he does not get drunk, ever. This is clearly not good. Not much I can do except pray I'm wrong in what I'm seeing, but I'm seeing a functional alcoholic. He could have been doing this for years, I don't know, but what I do know is that it is very, very concerning to see up close.
So the positive far outweigh the negatives if the whole "can't control my brother's decisions" thing is factored in, and I will always, always be glad for the time with my niece, if nothing else, and that's certainly not the only thing. Even the drive down was a very good thing with time spent listening to books on tape and time spent thinking/praying/unwinding after so many months of stress. I dread going back to work if only because this has been a big thing to look forward to for a very long time and now the next time I have is my surgery. I would not be surprised if some invasive testing for the various issues related to asthma is also done, so that makes looking forward to going back hard. I don't want to live for vacations, but I also very much need time off and alone and haven't had enough of that with all the sickness.
And now I'm about asleep so I'd better take adavantage of that, and more to come later.