Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Stuck In Limbo

Cascade along the Cabin Creek Trail
Grayson Highlands State Park - Virginia
October, 2009

One definition of the word "limbo" states that it is "any status where a person or project is held up, and nothing can be done ..." Sort of explains where we get the catch-phrase, "stuck in limbo," doesn't it?  Well, stuck in something is exactly where my family is right now and yours truly is going stir crazy.  I am continuously reminding myself how blessed I have been to have so little experience with how slowly the wheels turn when dealing with medical issues.  FIL has deteriorated into a complete state of dementia and not without some very tense and rough moments.  He is now being kept completely sedated, his doctors are all in agreement that he needs to be moved directly to a skilled nursing facility/nursing home and we are in the early stages of making that happen.  All of those things happened yesterday - today there was no movement whatsoever.  We simply waited, and waited, and waited.  Stuck in limbo.........................

This was also the day I learned that "stuck in limbo" is a very close relative to "Help, I'm A Control Freak".  I came home about three this afternoon.  The hospital room is small, stuffy and not designed to hold three people plus one completely sedated person, for hours on end.  Mr. B wanted to stay with his mom a while longer in case one of the doctor's came in, so I found myself home alone for a couple of hours.  

I was hungry, tired, sad, stressed and the pantry was between me and my laptop.  For whatever reason, I opened the pantry and there they were.....a fresh, new unopened box of TRISCUITS!  The conversation started immediately.  "No, Sharon - bad, bad, bad."  "Oh, but think how good they would taste with one wedge of the Herb & Garlic Laughing Cow Cheese."  "Only seven Triscuits with the cheese."  "That's a good snack."  "NO, NO, NO Sharon - you know Triscuits are your trigger food.  You CAN'T eat just seven.  You'll eat the whole box."   

The bad news is:   I ate the Triscuits.
The good news is:  I only ate half the box.

The bad news is:  It's been so long since I've eaten that much wheat (even whole wheat) and salt, I'll probably be swollen up the size of the Pillsbury Doughboy tomorrow.  Not to mention the headache I'll have.
The good news is: I ONLY ate half the box.  (In case anyone is wondering - yes, I've eaten a whole box many times...one of my favorite binge items)

The moral of this story:  "Stuck in limbo" and "out of control" are closely related and since we all know I don't deal well with "out of control," it should come as no surprise that I'm not handling "stuck in limbo" very well either.  Our lives are on hold.  We wait.  We have no control over the circumstances or the speed at which this process moves.  We wait.   I CAN control what goes in my mouth and for just a moment, forget how sad this all really is.  We wait.   I eat.  We wait.  All of a sudden, I get it! My mind makes the connection between "stuck in limbo" and mindless eating. Yes, I've eaten half the box, but I put the rest of the Triscuits back in the pantry.  We wait.  No more Triscuits!   But still, we wait................we are stuck in limbo!


  1. Sorry about your FIL. That must be such a stressful situation :(

    I can totally relate to your run-in with Triscuits. Why do they have to be SO GOOD?! But, you and I both know why we eat half the box - it's comfort. Food helps us deal with stuff we don't want to deal with. It gives us the immediate release and sedation that we want in the moment. I am glad that you were able to look at the positive side of not eating the whole box. Overall, it's just a blip on the radar screen and won't undo all the good things you've done this week!

  2. I gave up on Triscuits. Can't control eating them at all. Tossed them in the trash. Sigh.

    In the spring my mother's husband went through a crisis where he was mentally altered. There was a lot of limbo. It was the first time I remember craving exercise instead of food. Just for the time I could move my body, I felt some stress melt away.


  3. And that new ad campaign for Triscuits--where they show up at that lady's house with a whole truck load. I'm sorry to hear about your FIL. I have been there, facing that same terrible realization with my Dad. Hang tight, and throw away the rest of that box of baddies. Drink lots of water to help flush out the salt and stuff. No, I won't send my Dark Chocolate your way, this time. Hugs.

  4. Good luck with the decisions, including the ones that involve Triscuits. (Also one of my favorites.)

  5. Crackers of any kind call me from the pantry. I just had to stop buying them completely since I cannot control the cravings for them if I know they are there. Sad, but true.

    Hope something is done with your FIL soon so that Mr. B, MIL and you can get a break from the intense worrying about this limbo stage FIL is in.

    Thoughts and prayers with you all.

  6. Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about your FIL.

    I don't know if Tennessee has the same procedure for SNF placements as PA does. Did a hospital social worker assist you by putting your FIL's name and info to facilities you are willing to consider?

    In PA, a person must be admitted ot a hospital for three days before they can be discharged to a facility.

    That's not much time for a family to make that kind of a decision. They need to move rapidly if they need to visit facilities.

    Sometimes families are already familiar with a few and know which ones they would consider appropriate. Location is often the deciding factor. Hopefully, you and your husband and MIL do know of acceptable facilities already. If not--do visit them. Quickly.

    Discharge is astoundingly rapid. It's hurry up, wait, go now! My job was to help family through that process and basically do all of the paper work and connections between the hospital and the patient/family.

    All the family had to do was decide which SNF they wanted. That was a painful and difficult job, often. The initial decision to go with placement is gut-wrenching.

    Sometimes there simply is no other option. In cases of late-stage dementia, hospice is also a service that can be useful. Some skilled facilities accept hospice, some do not. The social worker should be able to help you with that, it you're considering it. It may become necessary for insurance purposes after a period of time.

    You're in my prayers.


  7. Take the victories wherever you can get them, Sharon. Don't be hard on yourself. That is counterproductive. Trust me, I know from my own experience on that!

  8. I love Triscuits, too, but you and I know that Triscuits did not make us fat. Well, maybe they contributed.

    Just try to hang on during the limbo. Take it a day at a time and realize that you are not in complete control of the situation.

  9. So sorry to hear about Fil. It is rough. We have gone through that (at least the dementia part) with my father, too.I have found that my stress level is more under control if I keep up the exercise. I do it early each morning-it is "me" time.

  10. I know that's hard! Triscuits I can do without - but Oreos - that was another struggle all together.

  11. Yay!!! A little victory - you did not eat a whole box, you ate half of a box. Crackers are a major trigger for me too - and those tricky laughing cow cheese wedges, they're low calorie but how can you have just one! ah!

    Also, I'm sorry about your father in law. I hope things go as well as they can.

  12. The good news is you only ate half the box! Sorry to hear about the situation with your loved ones. It is hard.

    In times of stress we reach for our old way of coping, that is natural. At least you stopped!

  13. Crackers of any type can be a red light food for me. Most times I am okay, but when the urge hits - hide the box! LOL.

    One step at a time, and if that means only half the box, that is your step :D

  14. Sharon,
    I hope everything is OK with you and your family. I just want you to know that I am thinking of you and praying for you.