Archive for September, 2008

Medicare just launched a new feature on their website, called “Ask Medicare“. This section is specifically for caregivers.  This website includes Medicare basics, help on long-term care plans, options on at home or facility care, and resources for local support.  This information is very useful if your loved one currently has Medicare or may be eligible for Medicare. 

 I have a little over a year until my mom becomes eligible (she is only 58 and we have to the wait the 2 years from when her permanent disability went through).  I know that she will still need supplemental insurance to cover everything, but Medicare will help a lot.  Right now, her Cobra payments are over $600 a month.  Yes, you read correctly.  So, in addition to having to live off of Social Security Disability and Pension checks, a good 1/3 is taken out for insurance-  not to mention all the copays, prescriptions, etc.  Yikes is right!  That’s why I am working, working, working… and still hoping to win the lottery.  Hey- you never know.  I figure my luck is bound to change one of these days and why not have it be the day I picked the winning numbers for Powerball.  🙂


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Caregiver’s First Family Get Together

This weekend, my mom and I will be going up to New Hampshire for my aunt’s wedding.  This will be our first family get together since her stroke, almost a year ago.  I am nervous!   There are the logistics- the 4 hour drive for us and our two dogs, all the bags, the special need’s equipment for her, etc.  Then, will she be able to get around the hotel ok, will the shower be adequate to fit the chair in it- how in the world will I be able to help her, carry everything, and hold two dogs- AHHHH.  Then there comes the emotional aspect.  This will be the first time since my mom had the stroke, and I became a caregiver, that the whole family will be together. My mom is the second oldest of 11 children.  Not all of them will be there, but many will.  Some of them have not seen her since she became sick (I am not going to get into how I feel about that).  How will they react towards her?  Her communication is strained and you’d be surprised how uncomfortable that makes people feel- even her own family! How will I feel seeing members of the family who are there to celebrate but were a no show during the hard times?  There is also a past history of our Irish family (under the influence of alcohol) behavior that has occurred during family get together’s, which may perhaps be adding to my apprehension.  Maybe my worries are all in vain, and the weekend will go smoothly.  Well, I am going to do my best to keep the peace.  After all- this is the wedding of my mom’s sister who has been a great help and hugely supportive to her from the beginning.  And we are there to celebrate her long and loving relationship with her partner, which they are now able to make legal- thanks to the new law in New Hampshire.  Wish me luck and I am sure I will have plenty to write about when I return.

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my mom and me, august 2008

my mom and me, august 2008

There are moments in my caregiving life where I can just live in the moment.  In these moments, come clarity and hope- for myself, for my mom, and for life.  And just as suddenly as these moments come, they leave, to be replaced by a bittersweet feeling. 

I had a beautiful weekend with my mom.  I had put away all my caregiving responsibilities- errands, lists of things to do- all of it.  I wanted to just spend quality time with her.  And I did.  We went to an inlet near the beach; we fed the birds; we went shopping (the fun kind); we played with our dogs; we even layed in my bed together to watch a movie.  As a caregiver, with so many things to take care of, so many lists, so many responsibilities- quality moments, let alone weekends, don’t happen very often. 

But througout the weekend, I would have moments of “feeling” time.  This was not a feeling I was unfamiliar with- it has happened from time to time.  I would hear the clock.  The clock of time’s past and the clock of time’s future.  The feeling of what has been lost and what will be lost.  I hear the clock for her, and for me.  Time…had clouded my beautiful moment, making it bittersweet.  I suppose moments of feeling this way are inevitable when caring for someone with a serious chronic illness.  It’s hard to “live in the moment” all the time. 

For me, my hope is that I will have more moments where I forget time, the clock stops, and all that is left is an awareness of that present moment.

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