The Energy Crisis

g-j_catSteve lives with an energy crisis – his own. If he does too much one day, he isn’t able to do much the next. The catch is what defines “too much” and how and when it will impact him.

Sometimes it’s obvious when Steve’s done too much. Last week, Steve attended a meeting at his former employer’s. After the meeting he visited with people for a couple of hours. He told me he knew he was having a problem so he stopped and had lunch, but he was having fun visiting, so he continued to see friends for another hour or more. He came home and took a nap, and the next day was low on both physical and mental energy.

On Friday, Steve spent the day with his dad. They worked on the sprinklers and had dinner. Steve was gone for ten hours, so Saturday I let him sleep as long as he wanted. In addition to eating three meals, he watched a movie on TV, supervised some of our decorating, took a nap, and watched a movie with us in the evening.

Yesterday, Steve was still a bit slow. Our son and I were gone about 1 ½ hours in the morning and during that time, Steve read the paper. In the afternoon we all attended a Christmas program at church. For me, it was a nice event with Bible verses and singing. The featured singers and the harpist were wonderful and Steve really enjoyed listening to them. The problem was when the congregation would sing. There was a gentleman behind us who during each song alternated between sounding like an opera singer and Carol Channing, or between John Wayne and Jerry Lewis, as Steve described it. Either way, you get the idea. I could see this was difficult for Steve and several times asked if he wanted to step outside. He made it through the program, which was fortunately only an hour long.

Today Steve attended the class he’s been taking where he works with clay. He had lunch and told me he didn’t understand why he was so tired. Ah, ha! Yesterday’s outing was tougher on him than either of us realized.

Especially at this time of year when there are so many invitations and activities, I have to gauge how much energy an event may take and advise Steve accordingly. Depending on how closely together things are scheduled, we sometimes have to decide between what to attend, or wait until the last minute to make a decision. Tomorrow Steve has a party to attend with his retiree group. Unfortunately, Steve has a final in his class on Wednesday, but the good news is that nothing else is on the calendar until Saturday night. Believe me, it will take him that long to recover.

Profile photo of G-J

About G-J

I am a caregiver for my 59-year-old husband, Steve, who was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment in December 2009. His employer put him on disability and he had to retire one year later when he couldn't return to work. I am also the mother to our son who is now a high school senior. We have a cat, Sagwa, who rounds out our family. In addition to blogging here, I volunteer at my son's high school in the scholarship office, teach a class I created called, "Keep Your Brain Buff" at our city's Senior Center, lead a writing group at the Alzheimer's Association, and advocate for people with all types of dementia. In November, I will be participating in my third Walk to End Alzheimer's.

7 thoughts on “The Energy Crisis

  1. Richard


    How are the Holidays treating you guys? I really need you to get in touch with Trish, for some reason she says I do the same thing. Want to feel like a man in front of friends, family, etc and tend to over do it. Or like on the recent cruise, you have a limited amount of time at each port and you (I) pushed myself beyond what I should have and paid the price, I knew it. I think its a good thing that you let him over exert once in a while, its what we need to make us fell like we are still needed, even if it is with friend, family or other. Have a great holiday season and tell Steve hello for me.


  2. Profile photo of CasandraCasandra

    G-J, I have the same problem with Marc. When he feels good he wants to do everything and I have to help him understand that he isn’t capable of doing everything. Sometimes trips to the grocery store are too much, even going out to check the mail may cause him to expend too much energy at times. And he refuses to nap which is its own issue. But I am sure you will find the right balance so that you both can enjoy the activities that come along this holiday season. You’re very observant to know his “tell phrases” that indicate he’s had enough or being working himself too hard. Hope you both have a wonderful holiday :)

  3. Profile photo of PegiPegi

    It’s a delicate balancing act, G-J. And even more so trying to get the menfolk to even consider the possiblity, as @Richard was kind enought to share. Once a superman always a superman! Hope Steve is feeling better and you’re able to get him to slow down a bit so you and your family can all have a lovely Holiday Season.

  4. Profile photo of EllysGdaughterEllysGdaughter

    G-J You are so kind and loving in your balancing of activities! I wish Elly could read this and understand that it is okay to nap and to be active! It sounds like you have a wonderful start to your Christmas season! It’s good to hear from you again!

  5. Profile photo of ThedogmamaThedogmama

    GJ, you are doing a great job with a difficult situation. I find it so hard to let Mom do as much as she can to be “normal”. And she too will wonder the next day what is wrong and why is she so tired. Life has taken so much away from out carees, it is hard to keep things in balance and not let more slip away, even at the cost of exhaustion. May the holidays be a wonderful time for you both.

  6. Profile photo of ejourneysejourneys

    G-J, Kudos to you both for trying to strike a very tough balance! My partner has had fatigue for years, though only recently has begun to accept that this is what it is. Everything but actual appointments becomes very ad-hoc.

    I wish for you all a joyous season with just the right amounts of energy and fellowship.

  7. Profile photo of TrishTrish

    @G-J, It is such a balancing act! I think many times we see they are doing way too much before they see it. Of course, it doesn’t help recovery time to say, “I told you so” but it is tempting. :-)

    I hope Steve was able to have his recovery period this week. Good luck with the rest of the activities this holiday season!

    Hugs to all of you!


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