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Showing posts from October, 2015

Do We Have What it Takes?

The question do we have what it takes  can seem kind of shallow and unnecessary to ask caregivers, right? We've already figured out how to roll up our sleeves, dig in and get it done. We have developed our own skill set some of which were part of our makeup before becoming caregivers; but we have also honed many skills as we have gone along. We learned to advocate, picked up on the right keywords to get things done, learned medical vernacular, figured out how to get the "right numbers" when we really need something done and opened our homes to total strangers to accept help. (nurses, doctors, aides, etc) While we are still the same person we were before caregiving - we have also evolved. We learned how to get up in someone's face. I recall when my son was still in the hospital and I discovered his catheter had had absolutely zero output all day - he was in horrible shape. They couldn't send anyone in because the nurse was at lunch. Madea's words ran thro

Are There Two of Me?

One of the things I've found caregivers must learn to deal with is the wide range of emotions. I'm not even talking about the "big stuff" like depression and the like. I'm talking about the day to day fluctuations of sadness to joy, contentment to unrest. Maybe I'm the only one who thinks they are emotionally schizo. One minute (or second depending on the day) I'm so happy and things are going well, and the next I've bottomed out and feel like a failure as a caregiver. On any given day emotions can vary greatly. My son does something new and I'm full of joy but then the next second I think that I should be celebrating his marriage or his first child instead of the fact he finally touched his nose. Is this just me?  This morning in my daily reading of scriptures I found something of interest to me in Psalm 108.The first 5 verses or so David talks about how glorious God is. He seems to be full of praise and waiting for God's answer to his pra

Not Invisible to God

How many times have we been places and it seems like we are invisible in the crowd? We actually went to a church one Sunday and not one person spoke to us, they all just walked right around us like we were not even there. This past Sunday we visited a church and so many talked to both of us - they spoke to my son and get this - they even touched him.  Unless you've been there you won't understand that. It can start to seem like we have leprosy or the plague. I actually fought back tears as I saw person after person touch his shoulder and speak directly to him even though he didn't seem to care. (I think he wanted to stay in bed!) Many times people encourage us to "get out of the house" without realizing what it really costs. Most of the time we are totally alone in our struggle. Over time, I've gotten used to taking up a whole aisle in a store as I push Chris in front of me and pull the basket along behind. We are quite the sight. This is just one settin

Whatcha Lookin' At?

The daily rigors of caregivng can get to you eventually. Well, actually, it's not the caregiving that always puts us into overload. We get used to the day-to-day activities we have to perform. It's not unusual to go from daylight to dark without much of a break just to get things done. And somehow we even get used to those unexpected things like an extra trip to the store to buy supplies or a "quick" trip to the doc or urgent care. Those are extras that we become accustomed to and we have those "special modes" we slip into. I know exactly what to grab as we head out the door to the ER. And when we get there I am somewhat prepared to stay a few hours to a few days whatever it takes! I'm not saying it's easy- we just learn how to make these adjustments on the fly. Adaptability is one of the first skills caregiving forces us to master. (smile) But let something happen outside our normal hectic zone and it's a major adjustment. Honestly, for me

Faith, Hope and Depends

As a caregiver, there are just some things about which we cannot speak. We silently feel each other's pain and have an understanding of what a normal day  may look like. We wipe up drool, pick up spilled (or spit out) food, and perform tasks we cannot speak about to protect the dignity of our loved ones. But we all could share some crazy stories if we were alone! Are you nodding your head?  Even though we don't speak about it, we understand. We really do seem to live in an alternate world from everyone else. On a daily basis we deal with all the normal  stuff - and then our own set of what's normal. That might mean we have learned how to bolus a feeding through a tube, check 02 levels, take blood pressure, give a bed bath and change depends. But even though what we do daily looks a lot different from the rest of the world's normal day - spiritually we are no different at all. This morning I was reading Proverbs 17:3 that says: The refining pot is for silver and th

What do you see?

I have a love-hate relationship with James 1:2. I love it because it's in the Word of God; but I hate it that I have to do it! Some days I don't want  to "count it all joy." I'm sure no one else feels that way, I mean after all as believers we are not supposed to feel  different than what the Word says. But there, I said it. Sometimes I can't see past my situation to find any joy at all. But maybe that's why verse 5 follows. In my mind this first chapter of James has always been all divided up into nuggets. Verses 2-3 explain how we are to address the trying of our faith through the various trials and difficulties we face in our lives. And then verses 5-6 tell us to go ask for wisdom. Two totally separate actions, right? This weekend as I was watching Francis Chan on YouTube (that was our Sunday morning "church" service!), something he said allowed me to connect these two sections. We are supposed to be able to find joy in our trials since

When We Wake Up Tired

Some mornings I just wake up tired. Perhaps it's because I overdid it yesterday, or maybe it's because I'm looking ahead at what I have to do today. Either way there are these mornings when I feel like I am scraping myself off the bed to get about the day. I've heard people say that it is so nice you can stay home.  I try not to laugh too loudly. I think they have no idea what that actually looks like. Just today I have the nurse coming at 10 for her monthly visit, then I have to get my son fed, changed and loaded to go to therapy by 1:30. That takes the whole afternoon (not at all a complaint - just a fact!), then I'll have to get him back home and fed and in bed for a short rest before we start our evening schedule and then hopefully at some point back to bed late tonight. AND somewhere in all that I have clients who are waiting on work and of course they all need it right now!  whew! No wonder I was tired when I woke up this morning. It is very hard for me,

Yet He Remains Faithful

Last night as I was going through our bedtime rituals. I just stopped and looked at my son. He was lying down, resting and soon to fall asleep. I think all mothers like to watch their kids sleep. I just stood there by his bed and let my mind wander a bit. I thought about our journey and all we've come through to this point.  And I rehearsed some of my fears of what may happen when I get my ticket out of this place called time - or I get too old to care for him. The thought of him being left in a home made me shutter. I thought of the people we met along the way and the ones I saw literally, just walk away. It's never been in me to do that. I thought of how much I love my son and how that holds me at his side no matter what. I felt the bond between us strengthen as I grabbed hold tighter with my heart. It made me more determined to be sure things are in order so he doesn't ever have to feel abandoned. I can't imagine putting him somewhere and walking away. In that

Reminding Ourselves

As I was reading through Psalm 71 in my morning devotions I recalled an old hymn called, Remind Me Dear Lord. I only remember a few of the phrases of that old song but sometimes it's really how I feel. At times I really need Him to remind me that I am still His child, He still loves me and He is still with me. Other times I need to remind myself of these solid truths. I assume that David wrote Psalm 71 but it doesn't say that for sure - just that it is a prayer of an old man.  Sometimes caregiving wears us down until we can just feel old.  This Psalm was a great reminder for me this morning. First of all, I noticed the things the psalmist reminded himself of regarding how he had reacted to God. He said things like: In You I have taken refuge Be to me a rock - to which I can continually come... My mouth is filled with Your praise I will hope continually; I will praise you more I will make mention of Your righteousness - Yours alone I will praise you with the harp

Does "Everything" Mean Everything?

Sometimes as a caregiver it can feel like we are "missing out" on life. There are many times we just can't do what we used to do because of our responsibilities of taking care of another. It may mean that we cut some of our favorite activities to try and lighten our load, or it might even mean we lack any sort of social life at all. For a long time I felt like I lived in a caregiver's cave. There was almost no social interactions and even now that we can get out and about even on a limited basis I am leery of scheduling outings. We just never know what a day is going to look like. It can be difficult to plan since we don't know what kind of day our loved one is going to have; and this can keep us from many activities. Even now that my son and I can get out more, I'm very limited on how long I can spend out. I have to get back home to change him or to feed him. And honestly, sometimes the fear of what might  happen while we are out keeps us home. There ar