Caregiving is something that one hears about quite often in the course of the day to day. Someone may have the care of an older relative, a parent, a child with a severe disability, and the possibilities are many and varied. I am finding in the care of my companion as he slowly recovers from 3 stays in the hospital in the last 2 months, that there is kind of a delicate dance of meeting his needs and taking care of my own needs.
I think there has been many things written about care giving. The one that comes to mind is "Caregiver Therapy" one of the Abbey Press Elf Help booklets that address human concerns in a way that gives a light touch to serious topics. These books are all illustrated by R.W. Alley. The caregiver book is written by Julie Kuebelbeck and Victoria O'Connor. I need to buy a copy to help me cope with some of the stress I've been experiencing. I am finding it is taking a lot of my inner strength and resources to manage the household and give Bill the care he needs. Some things I'm letting slide. They will be finished in some eventuality, I tell myself.
He is gradually growing stronger and able to do more for himself. I get cranky, though, when I get tired and my energy is waning. We are having healthier meals and using more fresh vegetables. I'm planning meals more carefully. But I have to tell you I have a lot of dirty dishes that I'm having difficulty getting washed. Writing it here and being open about my struggles will help me, I know. The trips to the laundromat are tiring, also. A little voice in the back of my mind tells me I SHOULD have been better prepared for this happening----the time involved in hospital visits and driving to Syracuse for 2 hours and home again.
He is being a prince when I get cranky and tells me he loves me. I tell myself I've been ill many years past and had help while I was recovering. This time with Bill's illness there have been many who have helped us and stepped up with support and kindness. Our neighbor built a step to the bedroom so that it was easier to step up into where there had been only one high 10 inch step. Someone loaned us a walker when Bill was very weak and needed the extra help. He was very concerned about a credit card payment, and a friend went to the store and paid it for him. Several have visited him in the hospital, even in Syracuse. There have been gifts of many kinds given to us during this difficult time.
So one dances a dance at times of illness, giving and taking and accepting and asking. There is the interweaving of help and helplessness. There is the music of friend's and family's concern and caring voices that accompanies me in the care giving journey I'm on these last few months. I'm thankful for all I've received and learned in this dance. My steps are clumsy once in awhile, but I stumble on and pick myself again for the next round.