Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Relaxation, Roulette and Respite Care

My husband and I had the chance to get away from our kids for a few days last week and spent three days in Las Vegas. I have only been to Vegas once before and I was almost 8 months pregnant then, so it was quite a different experience. I had been under some serious stress and really needed to get away so I could just relax. I wasn't so sure that was going to happen in Sin City, but I was pleasantly surprised!

It was so nice to get out of town and not think about anything other than what we were going to eat. We walked around on the Strip, did a little gambling, ate some amazing food, saw a couple of shows and had a wonderful time. I spent one afternoon at the spa in our hotel getting a long overdue massage while my husband won a couple hundred dollars playing Craps in the casino at Caesar's Palace. During my afternoon of relaxation, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I can do to make my life a little stressful when I am home. Organization would definitely help, but it's not enough.

I need to spend more time taking care of myself. This is something I (and a lot of other parents of special needs children that I know) have a huge problem with. I spend a vast majority of my time intently focused on taking care of my children. Just juggling Aaron's schedule alone is a full time job and because I am so emotionally invested in it (for obvious reasons), it takes even more out of me than a regular job would. So I am the one who gets put on the back burner again and again. So often it isn't something that can be helped. Aaron needs a lot and I'm not going to say no so I can go get a massage, that would be ridiculous. But I am going to try to make more of an effort to identify someone who can come help me on at least a weekly basis. If I can get someone to come watch him that I trust and that I know will do a good job taking care of him, I think I could relax a little bit, get some work done away from home, go to the grocery store without getting a migraine headache and not feel like my muscles are contracted into one big knot at all times.

I am starting to look into Respite Care, which is a program offered to families of children with special needs who qualify for Medicaid. I have hesitated to use the service in the past because I just prefer to find babysitters on my own and I feel a little weird about a government program providing me with a babysitter. But the more I talk to people about it and look into it, the more comfortable I am with it. And I think getting away really gave me the opportunity to reflect on it and realize how much I really need it. I'm not exactly sure how many hours we are eligible for, but anything will be better than nothing! I am trying to look at it like I look at finding therapists. Our service coordinator will find people who are willing or able to help when we need them and we will interview them. Once we find someone we are comfortable with, they will come watch Aaron. I plan to stay at home the first several times the provider comes so I can feel comfortable that she is caring for him appropriately. Hopefully we will get to the point where I feel comfortable, trust the person we are using and can leave the house. If we get to this point, I really think it will benefit both me and Aaron.


  1. I have a good friend here in Des Moines who has an autistic son. She uses respite care and it is a huge help!! I know she would highly recommend it. good luck! Do you have any pictures from Vegas?

  2. YAY! I hope you really follow through with your intent to get respite care. I TELL you...when you do it, you will wonder what took you SO long! It is amazing the relief you will feel, the joy Aaron will provide to someone else, AND the perspective someone else will provide Aaron! It is ALL good! JUMP! PLUNGE! GO FOR IT!

  3. Thanks for the encouragement Laura! It really helped talking to you since you have actually had the same feelings I have. I have a meeting set up with our DDD coordinator for Wednesday, so the process is started!