Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for June, 2012

Clara or Mike, who do I choose?


On most days after dropping Clara off for treatment I would be back home by 4:30 and I would start cooking dinner.  On dialysis days Clara would eat a big lunch, and just a light snack afterwards, so I didn’t have to worry about cooking for her those nights.  This one day, my husband was out of town for work, and I wasn’t really hungry, and I decided to make grilled cheese sandwiches for my boys and maybe a can of soup.  Yes, the lazy mother’s dinner.  Mike said he wasn’t in the mood for that and was going to run out and grab some fast food.  He had his own car and his own money from his part time job, so I said to go ahead.  Not fifteen minutes had passed when he called and said he was involved in an automobile accident.  When I arrived it was a mess, the police officer was yelling at my son for driving reckless and for causing this accident.  I was proud of how respectful my son was responding to this officer that was right in his face.  As I walked over to intervene and find out exactly what happened, the officer started with an attitude towards me.  I actually asked him to calm down so I could ask my son what happened and he said, “I’ll tell you what happened” and started again with his reckless driving speech.  I turned to my son and asked if he was hurt and he said he was.  I was in disbelief at how this officer was acting and asked one of the paramedics that was standing nearby if he could help my son, which he did.  It was quite a scene with a crowd gathered around.  There was a woman standing nearby who asked if my son was okay so I asked her if she witnessed what happened.  She went on to tell me that a middle aged woman had run a stop sign and ran into my son’s car and that the woman accepted responsibility but the officer told her there was no way he believed that an eighteen year old male was not driving recklessly.  I immediately went over to the woman that was pointed out to me, the one that ran the stop sign, introduced myself, and asked if she was okay.  She started apologizing to me for hitting my son, she said I could be proud of my son because he had been berated by this police officer and he stayed respectful the entire time, even before I arrived.  I asked her if she would come with me to speak to the officer again while the paramedics were strapping my son to a back board.  The officer agreed to write in the report that my son did not accept responsibility for the accident but still had a nasty attitude.  Between dealing with that and knowing that my son wasn’t seriously injured, but injured just the same, my emotions were all over the place.  As they loaded him up in the ambulance I told Mike I would follow right behind him.  Then I realized the time, by now Clara had to be picked up from dialysis in half an hour.  I told him I would be there as soon as I could.  He was good about it, he understood our lives revolved around his grandmother’s needs but I was so resentful that I had to put my mother-in-law ahead of my own son.  I called ahead to dialysis and explained the situation and asked if they could have Clara’s CD player and things packed up and her ready to walk out the door when I arrived and they were very accommodating.  As I was getting Clara to the car I was telling her what happened and of course she expressed her concern for her grandson.  As we were driving home she said, “I’m really in the mood for my cup of hot tea when we get home.”  In my mind, I had pictured pulling up to the house, swinging open the car door and having my younger son Zack help her in the house.  I told her I really didn’t have time; I was already much longer in getting to the hospital than I wanted.  Clara said she understood but really was looking forward to her cup of hot tea.  At that point, I could not think of the frustration she must have felt needing to depend on someone, all I could think is that she was being a self centered old lady that could only think of her own needs.  Thank goodness for cell phones, so I could call home and ask Zack to put on the tea kettle so the water would be ready when we got home.  I got to the hospital and Mike was doing fine without me, flirting with the nurses.  I knew he really didn’t need me there, but I needed me to be there.  He was released and we went home, him feeling sore from the whiplash, me being angry and resentful towards my mother-in-law.  Even though it all worked out, I was still angry at being put in the position that I had to choose.  It was probably a good night for my husband to be out of town.

There is an article in Energy Times entitled, LOVE’S CHALLENGE, Caring for an ill family member can be emotionally and physically wearying. 

http://www.energytimes.com/pages/departments/1205/holistic1205.html

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Reader’s Posts


I am delighted that others are reading my blog and commenting.  That was the entire purpose, to open up dialogue.  Some caregivers, at some point in their care giving, feel their situation is the worst.  That may or not be the actual case, but the feelings are 100% real.  In my journey as a caregiver, I felt few fellow caregivers I would speak with, felt safe to express their intermost feelings; the times you feel resentful, or at your lowest, when you wondered when they were going to die so you could have a ‘normal’ life again.  It’s hard.  When you have a healthy baby, you know each month is going to get a little bit better.  WIth caregivers, we rarely have that to hang on to.  My dearest and closest friend in the world, received her second cancer diagnosis and two days later learned her husband had a different, but very aggressive form of cancer.  They tried to help each other, she is now in full remission, and he is now in the process of dying.  They are both in their early 50’s.  They have a 22 and 17 year old sons that live at home.  It’s hard for her seeing how her sons are impacted.  It’s hard watching her husband die.  She gets frustrated, sad, overwhelmed, exhausted and angry at what they have had to deal with.  In comparison, taken care of my mother-in-law was much easier; but it’s not a competition.  Emotions are emotions, feelings are feelings, hardships are hardship, etc.  Keep in mind, every single caregiver is part of a very special group of people; a group that gives of themselves when they feel they have nothing more, but they push on out of love, and at times a sense of duty.  Some are the only family member, others come from a large family, but the only one that is willing to roll up their sleeves and do the hard work.  May we all continue to be a source of encouragement and strength to each other, and for no one to ever feel they are all alone, with no one that understands.

There is an article in Energy Times entitled, LOVE’S CHALLENGE, Caring for an ill family member can be emotionally and physically wearying.  Take note young caregivers, the photo on the front is of an older couple.  Young caregivers get a special SHOUT OUT!

http://www.energytimes.com/pages/departments/1205/holistic1205.html

Read Full Post »


Before she started receiving dialysis, you could stand in front of her and wave your arm and she couldn’t see.  Even with her improvement, the doctor said he doubted Clara would live more than two years on dialysis since she neglected her health for so long.  Dialysis would last around three hours, and after she was settled in her treatment chair, I was not allowed to stay.  I was grateful for that rule, because if not I think Clara would have expected me to stay to keep her company.  I found a small portable CD player and started getting some CD’s of artists she enjoyed.  After getting her settled in her treatment chair, I would hook up her CD player, put the headphones on Clara and adjust the volume for her.  Sometimes as I was leaving, she would start singing along and it was a pleasant way for me to leave her, in a good mood.  Often when we arrived at dialysis at her appointment time, they were not ready for her.  Usually problems arose on earlier treatment shifts which would make things run behind.  Clara would get so aggravated when she had to wait, which always struck me funny because what else did she have to do?     I’m a friendly and outgoing person, so I would get chatting with other patients that were waiting, or patients that had finished their treatment, but were waiting for a ride home.  Clara’s hearing wasn’t that good, but I would try to draw her into the conversation to make her feel included, and she loved that.  We became friendly with quite a number of patients.  The only downside was the days we arrived and they were running on time.  After I would get Clara situated, these older patients still expected me to sit and visit with them for a bit.  Some were still in the treatment area and I would stop by for a brief hello on my way out, but the ones sitting in the waiting room were a bit harder to get away from.  Sometimes, it would take me another half hour just to leave.  There was one patient there named Martin, he was just in his early thirties.  Martin was very kind hearted.  Clara and I both felt so bad that such a young man had such serious health problems.  He was usually finishing treatment as we were arriving, but would always stop and find out how Clara was doing.  One miserable, rainy day when I was leaving, I noticed Martin standing at the bus stop across from the dialysis center.  I stopped and asked where he was going, and he said to the light rail station.  That was less than ten minutes away, and I could not leave in good conscience with him standing in the pouring rain without any rain protection.  He was grateful for the ride and told me that each Friday he took the light rail into Baltimore City to stay with relatives for the weekend.  Later that evening I told my husband what I had done and asked if he minded if on Friday’s I would ride Martin to the light rail after dropping his mother off.  Andy knows I like to be helpful, so he did not object.  Martin seemed appreciative and took my kindness in the way that it was meant.  Unfortunately, after some time one of the nurses asked me if Martin was my boyfriend.  I was humiliated that someone that saw me a couple of times a week bringing my mother-in-law to dialysis would think I was using it as a place to pick up a man.  After that I was not comfortable taking Martin to the light rail station, but also was too embarrassed to tell him why.  On some Fridays when the weather was nice I would ask my oldest son Mike to take his Grandmother to treatment. That was always a welcome relief from the Martin problem.  Even then, some days that same nurse would ask, “Did you see your boyfriend Martin today?”  I could only hope she was kidding. 

http://www.energytimes.com/pages/departments/1205/holistic1205.html

Read Full Post »


Dialysis opened a whole new can of worms.  When it was determined that Clara would begin dialysis, I privately asked her doctor how long she thought she would live on dialysis.  She explained with all of Clara’s health problems, the hope was she would live up to two years.  That was staggering to hear.  It also gave me renewed enthusiasm for caring for Clara.  This woman was down to her last two years of life, certainly I could tough it out and make her life as pleasant as possible.  I had already scouted around a few dialysis treatment centers and found one about twenty minutes away from our house where the staff was really nice.  Since she required treatment three times a week, which required three trips over, and three trips back.  We divided up her transportation between me, my husband and her two daughters.  In time, my husband’s work schedule did not allow him to take his shift and it fell back on me.  Eventually, her daughter that lives about a mile from us was only able to pick Clara up after treatment one time a week.  So on Monday’s and Friday’s, I would take her and bring her home.  On Wednesday, one of Clara’s daughter’s would take her, and the other one would bring her back home.  To be continued…..

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: