The rain, the pain, the miles, and performing the task of caregiver, tells me I am alive!
Sometimes I am a whimpering baby, but other times, my self discipline and strength surprise even me.
2018 will see me be on foot, according to the Charity Miles application, over 2000 miles.
Either role, I am still here!! Easy? Nope! My responsibility? Yep!
Sure I can, it’s my life.
Can I be sitting and thinking about me, wishing I could go do things I wanted to do. You bet!
Then 10 minutes later look at mom and be glad I’m here keeping her safe. You bet!
From reading hundreds of post in Alzheimer’s or dementia chat rooms, I have a hunch. If the caregiver has always been the one that did most of the calling, and the going to see or speak with family, that probably will not change because you have become a caregiver.
Note: Some sarcasm in the last sentence.
She had good times in her life now. Her and her husband had recently moved to a place on the river and she loved to fish. Her dear friend had moved in next door. The congestive heart failure was progressing, but her new surroundings seemed to be having a positive affect on her.
Then came the news. Her mother in law was diagnosed with alzheimer’s disease and needed a place to stay and someone to help her.
The fishing became rare, as did the shopping trips. This went on for almost 10 years. Alzheimer’s took the patient away and MA passed away, shortly after, while getting ready to go shopping.
I was near her often during those times. I think she was following her heart. I’ve heard that true happiness comes from doing what you love. She seemed content and happy.
Since January 24th of 2016, ninety percent of my life has been spent with my soon to be 89 year old mom. A lot of those days have included struggle. Something happened a few days ago, and it has changed my feelings.
The explanation is not completely clear yet, but it will come.
Mom’s only living child is here, and no longer with reluctance. My highest priority is to keep her safe and help her do some of the things she derives pleasure from.
It may become a struggle again, as we both age and situations change, but I will cross that bridge when I get to it. This is what I am supposed to be doing. I am a Caregiver and Proud to be one.
P.S. The words “ninety percent” show that help has been available to me, in the past, and it still is. Learning to let others help is part of my new attitude, but there is more to it than that. When I figure it out, I will post about it.
A call to me this morning: “My best friend stopped calling. It hurt. Being a caregiver has turned me into a complainer. Nobody wants to be near or talk with me. I finally called her yesterday. Her husband informed me, that she has cancer. It’s bad.”
She was a 24/7 caregiver for many years. That changed, when he passed.
Now she’s back at it again. Yep, she has taken on the caregiver role again.
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This story is repeated many times every day. It’s a tough thing, it seems to me. Wow, to caregive for over 5 or 6 years and then your patient dies. Then, here it comes again.
We sure need a cure. We need Congress to fund the National Alzheimer’s Plan.
He called to check on mom and I. This guy and I go back almost 50 years. I’m blogging about this because I realize the huge difference between how I felt before and after his call. It made a world of difference.
If you know a caregiver, maybe phone them every once in awhile.
Anyway, Michael, thanks for the call buddy.
“Self pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.” John Gardner
Since becoming a caregiver, I have let self pity set my mood on occasion. I don’t want that. Maybe putting it in the blog will serve as a reminder, not to. I would rather spend my time other ways, with other thoughts.
But wait a minute. I watched as alzheimer’s ravaged my dad and took him away twice. I have spoken with hundreds of caregivers and observed hundreds of patients. I should be out bungy jumping, riding bulls, climbing mountains and such, but I am a caregiver. Shouldn’t I be able to feel sorry for myself.
I want to fight those emotions and replace them with action that may help someone through a rough time. I want to keep my mom safe and let her enjoy time.
One more quote . . . . .
“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have—life itself.” ~Walter Anderson
For now, I like that quote and the feelings from it.