Before we knew it, it was time to fly to Puerto Rico for our cruise. I retyped all of Clara’s medical information to update it, made up another chart of Clara’s medicines, and filled her daily pill dispensers. We were going to be gone nine days, so at first I thought I would buy some extra pill dispensers. Then I thought this was a good opportunity for Clara’s daughter to become familiar with her mother’s medicines, and with the detailed list it would be easy to refill her weekly dispenser. We were off on the cruise and had a great time. Unfortunately, toward the end of the cruise I got sick. I woke up the last full day of the cruise with a tickle in my throat, and by evening I was running a fever and was coughing like I had bronchitis. Andy and I were both amazed at how sick I became so quickly. That night we packed our bags and put them outside our cabin door as instructed and I crawled into bed. During the night I woke up with chills and a horrible headache, and although I didn’t have a thermometer, I’m confident my temperature was well over 103. I knew if I took ibuprofen, it would help some, but I can’t take it on an empty stomach, and I didn’t have the energy to get some food. Andy was sleeping soundly and I didn’t want to disturb him. As I laid there miserable, I thought when I got home that there was no way I was going to get any more help with Clara. I wanted to be home in my own bed but the thought of going home to my routine was dreadful. Morning came, and I got myself together to vacate our cabin by the mandatory 8:00 a.m. time. I felt horrible, but reminded myself that it could be worse. I thought of the year before when I had shingles, the flu and bronchitis all at one time. I did eat some dry toast for breakfast, took some ibuprofen, and within an hour started to get a little relief from my symptoms. We were able to pay to have our plane tickets switched to an earlier time. We arrived home to frigid temperatures and an icy snow. Not thinking, I had packed all of my shoes and had sandals on and a sweater. Fortunately, my brother picked us up and cranked the heat up for us.
I was Clara’s full time caregiver for 8 years. I mentioned earlier in
this blog that I am posting exerpts from my book, Life with Clara – One
Caregiver’s Journey. My goal has always been that my experience and honesty
could help others in this life changing role. My entire account is available at