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Showing posts from June, 2015

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Aren't you glad we don't have a screen on our foreheads displaying our every thought? Sometimes it might be useful, but I know there are lots of things that run through my mind every day that I would not want anyone to know about. Caregiver's thoughts are busy - they have to be because we have so many things to work out every single day. Many times I've condemned myself for my own thoughts not realizing it really is the way we work through  stuff. But there are lots of thoughts that simply cannot be shared with others. For the caregiver there can be lots of things that we choose not to share. When I first brought my son home from the nursing home and started working with him full time, I realized how difficult life was for him. He struggles to do anything. I had some thoughts many would find unacceptable. The only one I dare share is that my thoughts were that it would've been better for him to die in the wreck rather than live this way. Immediately I condemne

So Great a Love

One of the best things I have purchased as a caregiver is a baby monitor. I found I was not getting up as much throughout the night because if I heard my son I could glance at the monitor and just see if he needed me or was just moving around a bit. It also allowed me to go outside for my coffee and Bible study but still be able to keep an eye on him and hear him. This is very helpful especially on the mornings he chooses to sleep in a little bit. As a caregiver for someone who needs help with just about everything but breathing I have to watch and listen for him constantly. There are not many breaks and this little monitor lets me hear and see him in a way that gives me a little bit of freedom too. Just like I keep an eye on my son and an ear open for his every sound, God is always leaning in our direction.  He always has His eye on us; and He is always listening for our voice. 2 Chronicles 16:9 states that the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew

On this Journey

Ever have one of those days when you just need to be reminded that He is with you? I've had a few. He can send subtle reminders that He is near through a beautiful sunset, a rainbow stretched across the sky or the laughter of a child. Somehow these little lights in our day can help us remember that He is with us and He has not placed us on this earth and forgotten about us. I try to remind myself that we have the promise that He will never leave or forsake us. That is found in Hebrews 13:5 but it's actually a quote from Deuteronomy 31. In this chapter Moses is prepping the Children of Israel for a shift in leadership. He first tells the people that God is not leaving or forsaking them. Then he turns to Joshua and tells him that God is going with him and will never leave or forsake him. Then in Joshua 1:5 when God gives Joshua his charge He specifically tells Joshua again that He will never leave or forsake  him on the journey. Hebrews is just a re-quote of what God told J

Attitude Latitude

One thing that I have learned as a caregiver is how much attitude comes into play. I think it really helps to choose to have a positive attitude. But sometimes our latitude  or position as an advocate makes it difficult on our attitude. We are many times in positions where it takes some true grit to endure and to get things done on behalf of our loved ones. Many would say that because of our latitude  we have a "right" to let some things get out of control. I have to admit that there are days when it's a very big struggle to try and keep my attitude in line with Christian values. There are many emotions accompanying the caregiving package. We do get angry sometimes, sad at other times and emotions can just be all over the place some days. There's a lot on our plate every single day. But our attitude has a lot to do with how we handle an overloaded plate. Running on overload does not excuse poor decisions or bad behaviors. We are still accountable for every word

Who's Waiting on Who?

Caregivers often wake up tired, do you ever do that? It seems that if we are in bed for any length of time we should wake up refreshed and ready to go.  We deal with so many different areas and are pulled in numerous directions everyday that it's easy to get and stay tired. Just because we became a caregiver doesn't mean that we stopped being everything else. Besides caregivers we are often also: grandparents, teachers, parents, sisters, children, siblings, athletes, homemakers, writers, and the list could go on. To be a caregiver we didn't have to stop being in all these other roles because as we learned real quick - life does go on. Besides all the tasks associated with a normal  life, we have caregiving chores too. And to be totally honest sometimes I get tired. Sometimes I stay tired too! (smile) I get tired of dealing with politics and health care stuff.  ...tired of dealing with social workers ...tired of dealing with aides that don't want to w

Reminders that Life is Fragile

As if caregiving by itself was not enough of a reminder of the fragility of life, there are plenty of new ones. Just Saturday I learned of three deaths. One was a long time family friend who actually named my daughter, another was a Facebook friend who brightened every day with humor, and the other was a local sportscaster tragically killed in an accident. These all left huge holes in my heart and reminded me that we cannot take a single day with our loved ones for granted. As a caregiver, every day can be lived in pain - sometimes it's like everything hurts and even the small things are magnified. But when it's big things like watching your mom in the beginning stages of dementia or losing a close friend, it can be more difficult to handle. Times are tough and emotions are high when you are a caregiver. Many days it takes everything we've got just to keep ourselves together to perform all the associated duties. Let one little (or big) unexpected thing happen and it c

Is it Okay to Sing Again?

As caregivers we know that days are full of lots of things. We can easily run on high all day long and still feel like we got nothing done at the end of the day. Perhaps part of this is due to the fact that we do the same things over and over and over day after day after day. This is the way it is when you are caring for another person. It can be a life of repetition with the caregiver doing everything for their loved ones and then those same things for themselves. It's endless, isn't it? Sometimes I wonder just when it's all going to end. It feels like never. And if I am not carefully guarded, I can slip into a very depressed state and whine a lot.  Not that it helps. BC (Before Caregiving) I was a worship leader in the church. I stayed up on the latest trends in worship music and learned the newest songs. Tragedy has a way of robbing you of the things you love. For me one thing I loved was music. Actually, because my son was a musician prior to the accident, I could

Remembering the Promises

This weekend I went to the Dallas area to run a half marathon. On the night before I took time to take a walk and got back to my room just in time for the rain to start. After it was over this beautiful rainbow stretched across the sky and I had a perfect view of the whole thing. It was wonderful - nearly breathtaking from the 9th floor. As I sat and watched the rainbow unfold and deepen in color I thought about the first rainbow. The one God painted in the sky after the flood, then told Noah it was the symbol of His covenant with man and the seal of His promise to never destroy man and earth by flood again. I wonder if Noah and his family were nervous the next time it rained. Did they glance in the direction of the ark and wonder if they should seek safety? Or did they fully trust God's promise to them? Could they rest in His promises? Rest is the key word there for me today. A friend of mine has reminded me of how important it is to rest  in Him. She suggested I take some

I'm Not Super-Human?

Caregiving can consume us so much that others and ourselves forget we have other things going on in our lives. Since I started on this caregiving journey I've become a runner, a writer and a grandma! I have another adult child who can really feel like she lost her mom in the deal. And what's frustrating to me about it is that I can't do a thing to change it. We have started having a mother/daughter weekend every year around her birthday; and we got to make a trip to Indianapolis recently to attend a good friend's wedding. She helps me out a lot and I watch the grandkids sometimes to help her out. Today she's having a surgical procedure and I can't be there with her. It is certainly not because I don't want to be there for her, it's because there's no one to sit with my son during the week. Even the help I do have (paid or not) have other responsibilities and jobs. Of course, I don't even have an aide right now (one of our chief frustrations

At Day's End

Caregiver's tasks are endless and almost every evening I have this sinking feeling like I didn't get enough done. It doesn't matter how much I did  get done in a day, I feel like I fell far short of all I needed  to get done. Does anyone else ever feel that way? We already have enough on our plate just in taking care of another whole person or two. I say this as I not only take care of my son who is total assist, but am shifting into a caregiving role with my parents as well. My son can do absolutely nothing on his own but breathe. I not only have to puree all of his food or blend up shakes to put in his tube, but I also have to take the time to feed him. Each day I bathe him, dress him, get him up, stretch him, stand him, entertain him, etc. It starts early in the morning and goes until late at night. Even when he's in the bed early mornings or late evening he has to be bolused, changed, turned, and kept comfortable. It's my pleasure. Add to the daily chores

Aged to Perfection

After a very busy weekend away, I sat down with my coffee this morning and opened my Bible. The Bible I've been using is still packed in my bag, so I grabbed the closest one and it fell open to Isaiah 26. I read through the entire chapter but my eyes and my mind went back and settled on  verse 3. My mom taught me this verse as a child. It says: You will keep him in perfect peace all who trust You. I grew up with the old King James Bible being the "only" Bible and it states the last portion as whose mind is stayed on thee.  The verse has significance to me because my mother had what was called a "complete nervous breakdown" just after I was born. She spent months in a mental hospital all drugged up and endured the maximum number of shock treatments. That was the treatment of choice back in the early 60s. So I grew up listening to her quote this scripture as part of her testimony of how God had brought her out and healed her; and I learned to meditate on scriptu

No Walking Out

I wear a little fitness band by Withings. It tracks my steps each day and at night I can set it to monitor my sleep. Yesterday this is what my sleep looked like! I got in bed late and had some restless sleep and then my son spiked a fever and we headed to the hospital. It ended up not being anything serious - but with him, as with many you just never know. We were back home in just a couple of hours but there are times under similar conditions when we've been admitted and faced a hospital stay. We just never know. Over time as caregivers we don't really get used  to these trips, but we do adjust to them being just part of our lives. fortunately these trips do not occur as often as they have in the past, but they sure wear me out when they do. Days like today I have to think about my go-to scripture in Isaiah 40:28 that says The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired.  I sure would like to know how that feels. How can

Mighty Warrior

Have you ever had someone tell you they admire you and how they think you, as a caregiver, are so strong ? It happens all the time - but I really don't feel strong at all. It feels  like I am just surviving and not doing that very well some days. And then sometimes, like this weekend while on our first big walking adventure - I notice people looking at us with such sympathy - like they feel so sorry for us and our situation. How people see a caregiver relies a lot on the types of life experiences they have had themselves. Maybe they have had their shot at caregiving and they feel like it takes an enormous amount of strength. Or maybe some have never been in the position and think there's no way they could do it. (I was in that class BC - before caregiving. ) The truth is we may not feel strong at all - but others likely see us that way. We know as caregivers that we have moments where we can take on the world. These usually occur after winning a loooong fight with a healt

Rainy Days and Mondays

I'm a 70's child and I remember when "Rainy Days and Mondays" was popular on the radio.It's got such a smooth sound it can get stuck in your head. For the caregiver "Mondays" doesn't mean too much really, since everyday  can look pretty much the same. We get up on Monday mornings with just as much to do as we had when we got up on Sunday morning. The caregiver's responsibilities don't change much, if any, from day to day. I usually try to make some small variances on the weekends, like letting my son sleep in just a little bit longer; but the primary responsibilities do not change with the day of the week. When you are caring for another whole person these do not change much. There's still bathing, pureeing foods, feeding, transferring, dressing, and lots of other things that have to be done every single day. If we are blue because it's Monday, we are likely blue every day of the week! I went in search of one of the scriptures w