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Showing posts from May, 2015

We Still Look the Same

So many things may have changed when we became caregivers. For me, I had gotten rid of everything and moved to Chicago from the deep south and was working three jobs in preparation for heading to the mission fields in South Africa. But like many, my plans came to a screeching halt with a single phone call informing me my son had been in an automobile accident and had been medi-flighted to a local hospital in Shreveport. From there the changes were astronomical. I booked a flight to Shreveport and lived in the hospital for 4 months as I sat by his side. We then went through a series of nursing homes and rehab facilities until I could get my own apartment and have a place to "bring him home" to. It's an understatement to say that everything changed.  I now work from home as a writer and have a decent little apartment near my family in Oklahoma. Over time we all change, we evolve into different roles as life throws new things at us. We develop character as we embrace l

Like a Dove

There can be different roles we play as caregivers. For me, I am a sole caregiver for my son and get few breaks. But on a totally different level I am in the beginning stages of caregiving (just offering assistance presently) for my parents who are aging. No matter what specific role we play as a caregiver it can be overwhelming and emotionally exhausting. This morning I was just feeling tired; too tired to start the day. I thought of the verse in Psalm 55 where the psalmist says Oh that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. But then my next thought was No, I'm too tired to fly away! (smile) - I know you relate. Evidently when David penned this psalm he was under a lot of pressure from his enemies. And according to verse 12 even his friends had begun to fight with him. The shift is friendships was one of the biggest shockers of becoming a caregiver. Our BC (before caregiving) friends are not always able to handle the changes we need to make. And some are j

It's a New Day!

Overall I keep a pretty positive attitude especially considering my situation. But when someone enthusiastically says "It's a new day!" I nearly get mad. Because a new day for many caregivers looks just like the day before. We still have the same tasks to perform as we did yesterday and sometimes it's just over and over and over. I know that a routine is important for my sanity but every once in awhile a break would be nice. Sometimes caregivers can feel like they are tired of being tired. The psalmist must have understood this when he said in Psalm 73:26:   my heart and flesh my fail... For caregivers looking at a "new day" can seem like it's just "another day." It's important that we don't lose heart while caregiving. Yeah, that's just a little more pressure. Not only do we have to provide care for a whole other individual and meet all of their physical, mental and health needs - there's always someone to remind us to ta

The Thing I Fear Most

In Job's lament found in chapter three, he made a statement that faith-ers have used against him for years. He said: the thing I greatly feared has come upon me. (KJV) As a caregiver there can be many fears that we have to deal with. Our fears might lead to questions like: What if I can't provide for my loved one? What if I get sick and can't take care of him/her? What happens to my loved one once I am gone? These are all valid fears and are running around somewhere in the back of our minds most of the time. Because they are not imminently upon us we don't have to think about them too often; but they are still there. Another fear that I have had is that I would become bitter through the ordeal. It's been one of my most frequent concerns and the center of many prayers that the Lord would help me in my quest to prevent bitterness from setting in. Caregiving can take a toll on you - but it's the rest of life (which we are not exempt from) that can t

When the Caregiver Needs a Caregiver

Have you ever felt terribly alone and hopeless? I think those feelings come with the caregiving package as a general rule and perhaps everyone has felt them at one time or another. But when stuff starts to pile up on you it can make an already difficult situation even harder to deal with. The aide doesn't come in, the van broke down, or you, the caregiver doesn't feel well. Any of these can make for difficult days but then there are times they all happen at the same time. Even though we'd like to we just can't give up.  What would we give up to? Where would we go? Despair can easily set in when situations are overwhelming. But one look at our loved one and we remember why we are doing this "job" to begin with. Somehow they help us keep it in perspective. We can think of their vulnerability, their needs and just the fact that we love them and want to protect them and it helps us adjust our own attitude. That's when we seem to reach down a little further
Over the last year I had some of my own health problems and was even in the hospital for a few days. It was amazing how many people stepped up to help with my son during that time. You know all too well how miserable it can be to not feel well. It brings a wide range of emotions that are difficult to deal with and you can feel so inadequate. My daughter stepped right up to the plate and others drove in from out of town to give her a hand. And then of course, once I was better they were all gone! (smile) During one visit to the doctor's office she prescribed me some meds for high blood pressure. (Go figure, right?) And she said that they would be good for me since they also helped calm down anxiety. I laughed and said, "You think I'm anxious?" I have always been high strung and being a caregiver hasn't replaced or changed any of that. Actually, I started running as a way to deal with the stress of caregiving and am now training for another marathon. You'd thi

Can You Find One?

I noticed something different starting with Psalm 144. David changes the tone and starts these last few pieces with praise. Before that, he started several of them with feelings of despair and cries for help. I will be the first to say that when trouble pops up I'm going to go straight to Him first, there's no other refuge or shelter to run to for me. For several psalms David has been asking for the Lord's help and for the last few he shifts his focus to praise. As caregivers we have good and bad days inside our cave. Our emotions can run very high and swing from one end of the spectrum to the other in a matter of a few minutes. Some situations, like mine, we deal with a living grief. My son is gone, but he's still here. For many, it's not going to get any better and there is no relief in sight. This can make for a rocky emotional situation. If you are like me some days you can handle it fine; other days - we just won't talk about! Suffice it to say that our e

I am Your Servant

It's too bad that life doesn't have a "hold" button sometimes. Each caregiver has unique circumstances to deal with on a daily basis and it can be overwhelming. We get used to our "new normal" after awhile though. God equipped humans to be able to adjust and move forward. It can still take a long time to be "okay" with a lot of aspects of caregiving though. For instance going out can be a trying but rewarding experience for many. Even when you get used to it there is so much involved in just grabbing a few groceries it's exhausting. Common everyday tasks can be much more complicated for caregivers. Then add to that other life changes like aging parents and it can be overwhelming to say the least. In my case, my parents are aging and even though I am a caregiver for my handicapped son, my role with my parents is slowly evolving into that of a caregiver as well. What can we do when we are overwhelmed? I know I spend a lot of time in the Psalms,

Always on His Mind

It's easy to get lost in the shuffle of caregiving, isn't it? There are so many  tasks required to take care of someone else that we can forget to take care of ourselves. Aides, doctors, nurses and other professionals focus on our loved ones, and they should. But we can slowly slide back out of view and be nearly forgotten. It's easy to feel insignificant and small in the scheme of things. There have been times since I became a caregiver that I would go days without talking to another person. Perhaps this is due to the age of technology. I might text with someone or "chat" via a social media outlet; but I've literally gone days without speaking to someone. Sometimes I miss the art of conversation. I want to hear someone laugh not just type "lol." We need to hear inflections in their voice and see facial expressions. When we don't, we can begin to feel so very alone and wonder if anyone cares, if anyone sees; or if anyone even thinks about us at

Who's Got Your Back?

Have you ever felt like no one really understands? It seems like it hurts most when it's people who are supposed to be helping. For example, last week my son was up for re-certification in the Advantage program. I was sitting at the table with his case manager and the nurse who will be overseeing his case. They are cutting the hours an aide will come to help because they just don't see what needs to be done.  They are cutting the aide from 17 hours to something like 6 or 8 per week. On one hand I could care less because I've found working with an aide to be more of a hassle than it's worth - unless you get a good one. I was dumbfounded at the ignorance of the situation and I sat and just listened to them talk back and forth about the things the aide is and is not allowed to do. While there are some limitations there are plenty of tasks they can help me with, if they want to. Most of them just want a paycheck. I felt so unimportant and defenseless and very  unsure of w

No Sleeping on the Job!

Sometimes the caregiver is left floundering on their own and sometimes there are organizations or individuals who help them out. There are programs to help pay for aides and supplies that are very beneficial for helping us stay sane. When I have an aide it means I get out a little more to run, or run errands and that is good. There are nurses who come periodically to check my son out and see that he is healthy and being taken care of. Family members often sit with my son so that I can do things I enjoy or escape for a weekend. I am very appreciative of this "village" that helps me out from time to time. However, I learned a long time back when this caregiving journey first began that my help comes from the Lord.  I had no idea of the the types of situations and decisions I would be facing on a daily basis back then, but I knew if I was going to survive I would have to look at Him for my help. I began to meditate on Psalm 121 while we were still living in the ICU waiting roo

Mind and Heart

Have you ever twisted a dish rag to wring all the water out of it? Have you ever felt like    a wrung out dish rag that's had all the water rung out of it? That describes my last day or two for sure and unfortunately describes the caregiver at the end of all too many days. We talk a lot about the numerous tasks we have to do everyday and how adding one more no matter how small thing can tip the whole boat. Sometimes it tips us physically other times it can tip us emotionally. Either one can be detrimental. But you know what? Because we are caregivers - we just keep going, and going, and going. My already busy days got messed up by a minor wrist injury that occurred during my taekwondo session last week. Why does it take an act of God and congress to make a doctor's appointment and grab a quick xray? A busy day gets more hurried finding sitters and making arrangements to take care of these little extras . Eventually, I sat down with a cup of coffee and a big "Whew!"