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Commitment

I’m starting my “staycation” today. You know the kind; where you vacation at home so you can get things done that you never have time to do when you’re working. We normally vacation at the beach each year with our children but when the time came this year to pay off the rental, we realized that though we had some good times when we were there, for Lynn, most of the experience was exchanging one bedroom view for another with a lot of recovery time thrown in without access to all his special needs supplies (though it felt like I packed the house each time we went.) We decided the work involved in going and having to work around his special needs while there would not be offset enough by the short periods of time that we had available to enjoy time with the family. We enjoy having the kids around but often they were in another room or outside so we didn’t really have them around that much. So we cancelled the condo at the beach (lost $3000 in canceling the date but in the long run we preferred the loss to going.)


At first, I thought about not taking any time off at all since I use my leave time fairly often to take him to appointments or to provide his care, but then realized it would be a great opportunity to get some things done around here, so now I’m really excited about it.


My main goal for this staycation is to clean out my garage so I can move items from the spare bedroom to the garage and move things from another bedroom to the spare room. All this moving around is in preparation for installing an exercise pool. An exercise pool, mind you, that I don’t want but one that Lynn has his heart set on getting.
Continue reading at: http://multiplesclerosis.net/caregiver/caregiver-perspective-commitment/

My Mom's Words are Still True Today

Hazel and Roy Hale

 
Sixty-two years ago today, my Mom and Dad became husband and wife.  Two months later he was drafted into the army and served the next two years in Korea. As I listen to the words this young bride wrote so long ago, I look at them now and see that the love they had then is just as fresh today.
My Mom was recently diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer.  She and Dad are staying me while she receives treatment for this life threatening condition. Though Mom’s attitude throughout this ordeal has been remarkable, Dad has been just as amazing. Though he is 82-years old and from that generation where men did men’s work and women did women’s work, he is the perfect caregiver for Mom.  He stays right by her side, always.  She has been in the hospital three times since arriving her and he stayed by her side, night and day every time.  When she rests during the day, he sits in the same room reading in case she needs him. He cooks for her, washes up afterwards, does all the laundry, helps her bath, dress, whatever is needed, he does it and with such patience and kindness that he puts me to shame.  He is such a role model of love and perseverance that I had to share this song of love dedicated to him over 62 years ago.
PS. Mom just came through surgery after chemo was used to reduce the tumor and the doctor feels she got it all!  An amazing example of God’s love and fulfillment of prayer.  I’ll miss them when they move back home but I know that she will be in good hands with my Dad, the super husband every man should strive to be.

Time or Just One Continuous Move Forward?

Are you the type of person who keeps a calendar and checks their watch several times a day?  I am.  Since I can remember, I have been a clock watcher. I always had a sense of what time it was and what day.  Not that I was always punctual but I always had my schedule somewhere in my subconscious. 
I’ve found that keeping track of time is one of the things that seems to be “slipping” as a priority now that I’m a full-time caregiver.  I don’t even wear a watch anymore! When I first started taking care of Lynn full-time (meaning doing almost everything for him) I tried having a schedule. I even wrote out a treatment schedule and recorded when I gave certain treatments and when I did catheterizations, breathing treatments, etc. After a few weeks, I found that was a task that was just not necessary. Things would get done when they got done.
Why this change in philosophy?  Mainly because being flexible is essential to survival.  When we get up is contingent on when we go to bed and how often he gets up at night. When we go to bed is determined by how many times I was interrupted by him during my work day which influences whether I stop working at 7 pm or, like tonight, at 11 pm.  When we eat depends on what needs to get done when and how hungry we are.  Sometimes I get up and shower, fix his breakfast and supplements, then fix my breakfast, help him with his exercises and then help him with tolieting.  Other days events happen in the reverse order.  Sometimes it takes two hours; sometimes more than three.  If I try to keep a schedule, it just produces stress and frustration.  I’ve actually started setting a timer if I need to call in for a conference call at work because I often have no concept of what time of day it is.  I guess that happens, too, when you actually, truly, never stop in a twenty-four hour period. 
Work twenty-four hours?  Everyday?  How can that be?  Well, when you think about it, the only time I’m not working at either being a caregiver, employee, or housekeeper, is when I’m asleep but I only sleep two 1/2 hours at a time usually before I have to get up and be a caregiver again.  I take a series of naps instead of sleeping straight through the night–sort of like being a new mom.  Sometimes I’m only up for 15 minutes; other times it’s 30-45 minutes.  Lately it’s usually just 15 or 20 so I’m getting more sleep than I used to but if you can’t go to bed and sleep straight through the night does that count as an actual night’s rest?
I know I get rest but I still feel like I’m on duty all the time.  I guess it’s like being a medical resident.  A medical resident works all day then is on call all night.  How much sleep they get is dependent on how much the patients need them.  They might catnap or they might sleep a couple of hours but they are always “on” and when the next morning rolls around, they are back to work, the same as if they had a full night’s sleep.  That’s me!
So for a caregiver, time is irrelevant.  It doesn’t matter what time of day it is or what day of the week; you are “on duty.”  Weekends are just another day, more or less; and 3 a.m. will often catch you doing what you did at 3 p.m. ….so who needs a watch?