Back to Reality

As I so often do, when going on holiday, I feel as if I’ve been off in some alternate dimension for the last week, living a completely different life. Not that my family and friends on the East Coast aren’t a part of my life, but when one lives so far away, the nature of our communications changes, becomes more occasional and less immediate. This entails a certain amount of distance, emotionally speaking, in addition to the physical distance. Hence, spending 7 days in the immediate company of my family, while generally lovely, is also a bit of a culture shock. Leaving that milieu to return to my daily life is also a bit of a shock.

This year, there was the added element of being in the constant company of my son. I haven’t had that since Vic was 6 weeks old. Vic and I were holed up in the extra bedroom at my folks’ place for 6 whole days, a cozy little nest for just the two of us. Even though I shared his company with my parents and my brothers and various other relatives over the course of the past week, I reveled in uninterrupted time with my baby. We got into a rhythm of sorts, from constant exposure to each other. I got to see him growing and changing in front of my eyes in a much more immediate way than I usually do. I was also free of the worries of pumping for 7 entire days.

The reality of being here, in the office, hooked back up to the pump is something of a slap to the face after all that nice cuddly nursing time I had. In fact, I’m suddenly feeling overwhelmed by the idea that I need to come up with X number of ounces of milk in the next few hours, because tomorrow we dive back into the same old routine I left behind during my vacation. I feel as if I stopped for a week, but the rest of the world has kept right on moving and now I have to do the Eek! Dance of Catching up.

The vacation, over all, was a nice one. I spent a lot of time with my family, caught up with old friends and generally blissed out at having lots of time to spend just playing and cuddling with Vic and sleeping as much as we both wanted to/could.

However, the trip was injected with a bitter note of sadness by our visit to Connecticut to visit my grandfather. He has been ailing since July when he suffered a stroke. He’s been in and out of more than one nursing home, the hospital, the psychiatric ward and a rehabilitation center. Currently, he is being cared for at the hospice wing of the hospital.

He is paralyzed down the right side of his body. He cannot speak. He has a contagious, anti-biotics-resistant infection in a wound on his left foot that requires all visitors to wear gloves and gowns when visiting him. Yet, he is still aware of his surroundings, aware of himself, aware of his infirmity. He sobbed when I brought Vic to the door of his room to see him.

I’m struggling with feelings of sadness, anger and helplessness about his condition. There’s more I want to write about it, but the words aren’t there yet, and maybe never will be. The only comfort I find now, is that he seemed to be happy, in so much as he can be, to meet his great-grandson. If that’s the least I could do for him, then I am glad that I was able to do it.

Work is hovering, and I need to get my brain back into “workspace”, hard as it is on just a few hours of sleep due to a delay in my flight back to the West Coast. My thoughts are skittering about like leaves blown in the wind, never resting in one place for long and making it hard for me to remember, even, what it is I’m supposed to be doing. A good night’s rest should solve this problem, I hope.

This is always the double-edge to vacations where travel is involved — the time off is meant to be a stress reliever, but so often, one needs a vacation to recover from being on vacation.