Saturday, October 1, 2011

TODAY - That is what matters

Give the gift you were saving - TODAY
You may not have TOMORROW

Go for a walk and enjoy nature - TODAY
You may not have TOMORROW

Tell your loved ones "I LOVE YOU" TODAY
You may not have TOMORROW

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My trip to the Past

This is a picture of me last September, when I actually took four days away from my beloved husband to attend my 50th high school reunion (wow).  He was well taken care of by his two daughters and by in home services that sent someone to do his showering and changing.  I actually spent four days connecting with old friends and seeing my birthplace for the first time in 35 years.  I was amazed that I did not worry one bit about my husband because I knew he was being cared for with much love.

It was a wonderful, reflective time and gave me a "refreshing" so I could come home and continue caring for my wonderful "better half".  This was a change for me because at no time before did I feel a need to do something like this.  I couldn't stand the thought of being separated from my husband even for a few hours, let alone a few days.  It worked out wonderfully and I am so glad that I did this.

Now we are back into our routine, but with some slight changes.  We moved to the state of Washington last November to be near grandchildren, it has been an experience.  I always thought I liked the rain until I was confronted with it day after day.  Then, I developed double pneumonia and was quite sick, but am now on the mend.  My husband recently fell and suffered a compression fracture in his back and we have been receiving wonderful, supportive care through the state of Washington and it has helped me tremendously.  He is now on the mend and we are back into our routine.  Will try to keep this blog going because it gives me a focus, and hopefully at the same time, may help others.

Another focus I am working on is an online store concentrating on garden items - it has been fun and a lot of work - but I can do it.

. -

Monday, June 20, 2011

It is hard to believe that I have not posted anything on this blog for a year.  It has been a busy year.  We have moved to the great state of Washington and we are trying to get used to the weather.   It is very different from California so will need to adjust.  Moved here to be near grandkids who moved in order for dad and mom to find jobs.  Could not bear to be parted from them.

My husband just turned  75 and I am continually amazed with how well he is doing.  He has reached a plateau with this brain injury and may never go any further, but that is OK.  He is happy and content and doing well physically. 

Me on the other hand not doing so well.  Just got over case of double pneumonia.  Caregivers always take care of themselves last and I am no exception.  I have learned through this illness though how important it is to take care of oneself in order to be a good caregiver. 

I will continue this blog - and hopefully, not wait so long to post.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Purpose of Life

Today is my husband’s 74th birthday.  His brain injury occurred when he was 61 years old.  It is amazing to me that he is still with us.  I am grateful for every day, every month and every year that we have had together.   When I ask him how old he is he always comes up with the same answer - 59. 

I have often wondered in the past years what the purpose of my life is.  I guess we all go through that at some point.  I have mined deep within my heart and I know, without a doubt, what the purpose of my life is.  It is to help my husband in his journey, to keep him as happy as I can, to take care of his every need, and to help him through that portal that we all must go through. 

It is an awesome responsibility to be a caregiver.  In my husband’s case, his physical and emotional existence is entirely in my hands and at times it does get overwhelming.  Making sure he gets enough liquid (dehydration),  enough to eat, keeping him clean and shaved, and trying to make him laugh.    It reminds me of a mother with her baby.  A baby is entirely dependent upon their mothers and fathers.  The only difference for me is that my “baby” will never grow and change, and will never be able to care for himself again.   I try not to think about that, but just take each day as a new day and a better day.

I know what it is like for me on a day-to-day basis, but I have no idea what my husband is going through, and even if he knows things are “different”.

I am looking forward to my trip to my birthplace and seeing old friends and reconnecting.  I know that will be the “refreshing” that I need now.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My trip into the Past

Something very exciting has happened to me in the last few weeks.  Somehow, a fellow classmate from my high school appeared on my facebook page with a comment.  This started my journey into the past.  I have reconnected with old friends from high school and grade school.  My 50th high school reunion is in the works and I have been given an opportunity to attend this reunion. 

I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, and have not been back for at least 35 years. During those years I lost contact with my friends and have now been able to find them again.  I am a great believer that things happen for a reason, and I believe this will give me an opportunity to “refresh” from my caregiving.

My husband’s daughters will be coming to California to care for their dad while I am gone.  They love him very much and I know he will be well taken care of.  I could not go if I thought otherwise.  Since his awareness is non-existent most of the time, I cannot take him with me.  He would be very confused and unable to process anything.  It would also be hard to care for him while traveling and staying with my friend.

The most difficult thing for anyone to do while caring for him is the incontinence.  He is bowel and urinary incontinent and has to wear depends all the time.  This will be hard for a daughter to take care of so I am exploring other possibilities. 

I know, in my heart, that this will all come together somehow. 

This may be my last chance to see friends and family that I have missed for so long, so I am going to take this trip and believe that all things will work out.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Anguish, Anger and JOY

Moments of Anguish, Moments of Anger, Moments of JOY

My moments of anguish were spent in the hospital watching my husband struggle to survive his devastating-cardio-pulmonary arrest.  Watching his body swell to an unrecognizable shape when it was discovered that when he was intubated on our kitchen floor, a hole was torn in his windpipe and the ventilator he was on was putting oxygen into every tissue of his body.  A stint was put into place to release all the oxygen and the swelling went down.  Moments of anguish when we were told that he would remain in a vegetative state and would never walk again or function again.  Moments of anguish when his liver, kidneys and lungs started to fail.  Moments of anguish when he was moved out of intensive care into isolation because he had developed a staph infection.  We had to wear gloves and masks to visit him.

His body was deteriorating and it was so critical to get him into a rehab hospital, but the hospital wouldn’t take him as long as he had the staph infection.

Moments of anger.  When they told me that the rehab hospital would not take him with the infection, I screamed at GOD in anger and frustration.  My God, My God, where are you.  After my screaming, sobbing fit with God, I went back into my husbands room and the nurses came running in to tell me the ambulance was on its way to take him to the rehab hospital 30 miles away because the last test they had done showed that the infection WAS GONE.    Our doctor dropped everything to come to the hospital to put in his medication tubes so he could be transported to the rehab hospital.  The ambulance came and there was a mad dash to the rehab hospital because they would not accept him that day unless we could get him there by 5:00 PM.  The ambulance left the hospital at 4:00 PM and got him to the rehab hospital in time.  MOMENT OF JOY!  MOMENT OF MIRACLE!

There were many more moments of anguish, anger and joy to come.  Each, I believe, to teach me something about our journey.  As angry as I was at our loving God, I know, without a doubt, that everything was put into place for the journey we were about to take together.

I think I am waiting for the final miracle to take place.  That is for his brain to become whole again and to enable him to know who he is, who I am, where we are and how to do such a simple thing as getting himself a drink of water, or to become continent again.  I know this may never happen, but I never give up hope that it is possible.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Love, Courage and Commitment

This post is not so much about my husband, but rather about a blog I have been following and the impact it has made on me.  It is

Whenever I read her blogs I am so moved that all I can think of is the journey she and her husband took together; the love they shared, and the incredible journey with illness and dying they went through. 

I have been grieving the loss of my husband, as he was,  for so long that this blog has helped me tremendously to put that grief aside and focus on today more than I ever have.  I have been so fortunate to have my husband with me, even though he is unable to function in any way.

I have been told that it is the quality of life that counts.  I agree with that, however, who can say whether my husband’s “quality of life” is not there.  I believe that he is content even though his awareness of surroundings and people is, at times, nonexistent. 

In reading the Widow Lady’s blogs I see such tender, loving care and commitment  that it inspires me on a daily basis to do everything I can to keep my husband content and well.

I have learned over the years that my husband does react to my own emotions, so I have tried to do my own crying out of his sight.  This is hard at times, but it is totally necessary.

I recall when he came home from the hospital and his care was totally in my hands, I decided to take him to the movies.  The choice at that time was “Titanic” which had just come to the theaters.  During the scene of the sinking he turned to me with panic on his face and asked “are we going to be able to get out of here?”  I realized at that moment that his sense of reality had been distorted by his brain damage.  That was the last time we went to the movies.  Now, I make sure he is surrounded with comforting things that make him laugh and that make him feel safe.

The Widow Lady’s journey with her husband has moved me beyond words.  Her words have given me great strength and re-dedication to our own journey through the fog of brain damage. I  know, without a doubt,  that when the time for my husband’s flight comes, he will be ready and he will be at peace.