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Managing responsibilities when your asthma is flaring

I know that I have heard many of you saying that you just can't do it all, particularly on days your asthma is really flaring. Are you able to ask for help from family, friends and coworkers?  Do you push yourself to get everything done?

How do you get others to help when you just can't do it all?  Do you cut yourself some slack?

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  • Pljohns

    Unfortunately I push myself to get it done.  We have no family in town and no close friends and our neighbors are AWFUL so it's just DH and myself and the 2 DS (who are TONS of help).  Work wise, I tend to be the dumb looking one that walks around working with a neb in my mouth-I just keep on trucking. DH nick named me a combo energizer bunny/timex watch-takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin' and just keeps going and going and going.  I wish I wasn't this way because I know I would get better so much faster if I could just get some help but every time I ask DH to help when I'm sick, I pay for it dearly because before I get well, he "comes down with something" and then I have everything I normally do AND him.  

  • Mandy

    I do a bit of both…asking for help and pushing myself. I have a tendency to push harder when I am doing better but 3 years later it bites me in the bottom time and time again. We are super fortunate. Our families are here and have come at a moments notice. So thankful for them.

  • K8sMom2002

    Jen, excellent question. I prioritize. 

    • The things that have to get done and that no one else can do, I do.
    • The things that can wait and that no one else can do, I let go.
    • The things that have to get done and that someone else can do, I let them do. 
    • The things that can wait and that someone else can do, I let them decide whether it's something they want to wait on.

    When I turned 40, I adopted a new philosophy: My husband married ME, not MerryMaids. 

    Also, after every "crisis" situation, I do a post-mortem and try to figure out how I could have handled things better. What can I automate? What can I delegate? What did I stress over that doesn't need stressing over? What can I OHIO? (Only Handle Item/Issue Once?)

    So over the years and over many, many different types of crises, I've handed more and more things off to my family or to an automatic system on a routine basis. And my priorities are fairly simple.

    • Clothes washing — it's a team sport, and if you start laundry, you finish it — which means you see that it's moved to the dryer, removed from the dryer, folded and put away. I saw this meme on laundry the other day, and I love it.
    • Bill paying — gotta love direct deposit and automatic draft
    • Grocery and menu planning – MealBoard app
    • Supper — if I'm sick, DH can cook, and I promise not to complain about what he fixes. (Although I have to say, when DD steps in, it's much better than when DH cooks.)
    • Dishes – again a team sport. My main goal is that the dishwasher is empty first thing in the AM to catch all the dishes during the day. Also, if I cook, DH gets to clean. 
    • Grass cutting — DH does it and I close my eyes until he does and while he's actually cutting the grass. (Don't ask.)
    • Vacuuming and sweeping — my rule is, "We all have thumbs, people!"
  • Pljohns

    I LOVE that!!!  There are parts of what you do that I also try to do and am learning to have someone else do something, not complain that it wasn't done when I want it done or maybe not how I would have done it but try to remember that I didn't have to do it!

  • K8sMom2002

    Oh, the not complaining part is SO hard for me. But some years ago I worked with a boss who constantly carped about everything that the people under him did — nothing would please, and no one could make him happy. It was a soul-crushing experience, because I LIKE to make people (and my boss especially!) happy … I found first hand how constant micromanagement and complaints can really discourage productivity and crush initiative.

    I honestly got to the point where I was afraid to try anything without first running it by my boss … which was exactly what the boss DIDN'T want to happen. That's when the light bulb went off for me … Gosh, was this how DH felt when I said things like, "Hey, you were supposed to fold the towels THIS way" or "Why didn't you do it THAT way?" or "Don't you know you were supposed to XYZ?" 

    When I changed my ways and learned to bite my tongue, DH magically got much more willing to try things. Maybe they aren't exactly like I would do them … but I have also learned that I do NOT have the market cornered on "the one right way" of doing things, and often other people have far superior ideas to mine. 

  • Pljohns

    Hadn't thought of it like that but I am making an extra effort NOT to complain how things are done or when they are done and I see what you mean-they will try more!  DH tends to be the unintentional "get even" person-if I ask him to do something extra or if he does something for me, it's get even time and for the next week or so, he'll open packages and leave the paper where I have to throw it away just to go to bed or leave no tea made-little junk like that so I have extra little stupid things to do.

  • K8sMom2002

    Oh, ye gads, do I hate the mentality of the ten-year-old "it's not FAIR" attitude. I hope you don't have to put up with that this week. (Or next!)

  • Pljohns

    So far, it's being OK-he was on a roll a weekend or so ago and I picked up after her all weekend-stupid stuff like using all of the toilet paper and instead of just getting out more and even leaving it sitting by the toilet, oh no-had to put it ON my place on the vanity so I would put it on the roll!    I've learned over the years to just laugh about it and shake my head.  

  • Jen

    What are people doing to try to juggle things when their asthma is flaring?  

  • Pljohns

    I'm trying desperately to learn and make myself believe, that not everything HAS to be done RIGHT THEN.  I am the worlds worst and not wanting anything left out or left to do-don't think my house is like something out of Better Homes and Gardens because it is FAR from it-but I don't like the counter in the kitchen buried to the point you can't even see the counter top, or trash piled up but it is far from a show place or anything even close-it's a home, lived in daily and definitely not perfect-but I am trying to learn that if the counter stays the way it is for a day, it's not the end of the world.  I'm trying to make myself believe that everyone has clean clothes, no one is starving, the dogs have been fed and have water and the bills are paid-anything else isn't the end of the world and can wait a day or so.  I dont' always manage it, and tend to push myself way beyond past going, but it's my new goal to make myself work on it.

  • Kathy P

    That's a great philosophy Lynn! I came to grips years ago that my house was never going to a showpiece! We live here and it looks it! Lately it's been a little worse than usual, but there is only much time and effort I have available and the house has been taking a back seat to other things.

  • Jen

    What about things like vacation prep when your asthma is flaring?  How do you manage that?

  • Pljohns

    I wish I could say by delegating but DH and DS#1 hate to go anywhere so there is no one to delegate too!  If I delegated anything to them, we'd never go-not that they wouldn't do it like I wanted it done, they just flat wouldn't do it knowing that it would be a way to stay home.

  • Kathy P

    Ugh Lynn, I'm the main prep person in our family too. The kids handle their personal stuff, but I have to manage the other stuff like food. 

    We were taking our bikes this trip and dh procrastinated assembling the new bike rack. Well that meant he was totally frantic as time tucked by, but couldn't gripe because everyone else was ready to go!

    I'm miserable today, but it's not my asthma, it's my gut/ food allergy reaction. I got hosed yesterday finding lunch and ate a few fries that likely had wheat. I asked all the right questions, but not whether they were preseasoned. Then I ate some gluten-free brownies not thinking about them containing egg. I blew through my threshold. Ugh. But still had to pack up this morning, play Tetris packing the truck and help load up the bikes. 

  • Jen

     I hear you ladies.  I have seen several variations of this meme.  Thought I'd plunk it here for your enjoyment. **note that I'm not saying all husbands are like this, just that Lynn and Kathy might appreciate this one.

  • Pljohns

    Jen-OMG-I am laughing so hard I"m bawling!!!  That is the funniest thing I've seen in a long time.  I showed it to DH and all he said was "yep, you lived that a few weeks ago".  That is THE BEST-

     

  • K8sMom2002

    , Jen, the corrections I would make to make this more accurate for MY household:

    And he wonders why I don't like to take big vacations.

    As far as the house, it's really bad right now because I've been spending every minute on the porch railing project, and there looks to be no end in sight. But it's getting to the point that I have to do something.

    Lynn, one thing that helped me some years ago is the book How Not To Be A Messie. If I stay on a daily routine — doing a little bit every day, whether it's "good enough," then those hot spots don't build up. 

    But I can definitely tell when I'm off my routine. 

    Another thing … when my schedule is crazy and I'm going, going, going or someone in my family is going, going, going to a thousand different destinations, I find we are messier because we throw things down and dash out the door. 

    So maybe what I need to do is take a hard look at our schedule. What's really so important that we can't keep to a routine that will keep things streamlined for me?

  • Pljohns

    I'm pretty good about doing a little each night and when things get bad, I pull what my Mom always did-she would say it was time to stop the world for a while and regroup.  I have certain things that I do every night and then 2-3 that I try to get done each week-doesn't matter what night as long as they get done and both DS's are a HUGE help. My house and projects may not be good enough for others, but if they don't like it, they don't have to come visit and they are always welcome to leave.  We tend to get messy when we are crazy too-especially DH-I have one kitchen counter that unless I stay on it, it gets where you can't tell there's a counter under it and that drives me NUTS!   I have been known to separate what belonged to who and put in in place of their dinner plate.  When they put stuff away, we all sat down and ate.  They got the point.

  • K8sMom2002
    Pljohns posted:

    I have been known to separate what belonged to who and put in in place of their dinner plate.  When they put stuff away, we all sat down and ate.  They got the point.

    I love this! I've tried the old "put it on their pillow" trick, but then it just means I still have to walk to their pillow AND I know it's probably just going to get moved to the nightstand, which is ANOTHER hotspot.

    If we could ALL just be better at putting things back. This AM DH had my phone charger cord (DD needed a longer one to power through a long neglected backup), and he was going to appropriate it. When I pointed out that it was mine and he needed to put it back, he said, "Oh, okay. Where does it go?" I told him to put it on my nightstand, but I should have asked, "Buddy, where'd you GET it from?"

  • K8sMom2002

    Between getting ready for back to school and my porch project, I've just been doing the bare necessities, and I need to get back to my system. 

    Lynn, I wish I could try what your mom would do — stop the world and get caught up! What I need to do is take a few moments to come up with a chore list for my DD — she's usually great about helping me, but the shine of her new driver's license has got her going in a million different directions. Plus she really does have a lot of commitments to cram into the last week or so before school starts. Next year I will say NO to three summer camps!

  • Pljohns

    Sounds like your DD has the same 'drivers license glow' DS#2 has!!  He never minds driving and I must admit, he has run more than 1 errand for me.  Last week I had to take him for his eye exam and it was really nice not to have to come home and get him and then bring him back.  He met me half way there and opened my car door and promptly handed me chick fil a tea and a chicken biscuit-he said he knew I went to work early and he thought I might be hungry.  He TOTALLY surprised me and it was a moment I won't soon forget.   As stressful as it was for me today with him trying to register himself for school, they totally messed up his schedule and he calmly did what he needed to so it is fixed, it was nice not to have to take off from work and go do it myself.

  • K8sMom2002

    Lynn, that sounds like you've done a great job as a mom! I know many, many young people who are quite nice, but they aren't nearly so thoughtful! 

    And yes, my DD loves being independent! It's been a great boon for her and for me, and I'm really glad she's getting to spread her wings. I may reach out to you and ask you for advice since you're a bit ahead of me in this parenting business. 

    Glad that your DS got his schedule worked out! I'm hoping that when we go to our DD's open house Aug. 1, her schedule will not be all confused. Changing schedules at our school is extremely complicated and frowned upon, so fingers crossed that it's okay!

    One thing I did do today — supper's on in the Crock Pot! Woohoo! While I love my pressure cooker, it's nice to know that the big part of supper is DONE when I get off work. It was a team effort between my pressure cooker and my slow cooker, though — I forgot to lay out my chicken thighs last night, so I used the pressure cooker to thaw them and partially cook them before I put them in the slow cooker. It's much faster than my slowpoke microwave!

  • Pljohns

    Cynthia-I'm FAR from any kind of expert on kids-I tell our oldest one pretty regularly that I'm sorry-he always asks for what and my reply-I've never been a Mom before and I'm having to learn how and I've made lots of mistakes and still do and because you are our first born, I'm having to learn on you so I'm sorry.  He always laughs, but it's the truth.  

    I find I use the grill more than the crock pot or the pressure cooker.  DH is the smoker king, but the grill is mine.  We use it probably 3 nights a week or more and when I worked such long hours and still active in martial arts after work, I would cook the meat on the grill before I went to work.  I'm sure our neighbors loved the smell of grilled chicken at 6AM but it worked.  I just replaced my crock pot (the warm function on my old one quit) so now I can use it more.

    Having kiddo's that can drive has been a HUGE help-DS#2 went and bought his own school supplies so I didn't have that either and they both frequently run errands that we need so DH and I don't have to take off work to take care of small things and now that DS#1 is 18, I'm comfortable leaving him at home if a repairman needs to come.  He knows to call me before he signs anything but he handles them fine and if there are any questions, he calls me and puts it on speaker so I can talk to the repairman.  I don't know what I would do without either of the boys now.

  • K8sMom2002

    Love the idea of grilling early! Why hadn't I thought of that! I love grilled foods, but afternoons and evenings can be really hard for me (heat + humidity + smoke). But you've reminded me that while I have the grill lit on, say, the weekend, I could grill several things and then freeze them!

    And yeah, I tell DD all the time that she's my guinea pig, and I'm just feeling my way in the dark.

  • Jen

    Does anyone have some good time management strategies, particularly for those times when you're having a flare?