Make Me Smile

I’m so happy that you love me
Life is lovely when you’re near me
Tell me you will stay, make me smile                              
James Pankow

There are days when you are caregiving and you just can’t help crying because you are so happy. Incredible break through days, only “You” will witness. I was getting my wife’s breakfast ready one morning and had a strange feeling. As I walked around the corner of the kitchen to the living room, she had gotten out of her wheelchair and was walking. She was getting ready to sit herself down on the couch. My heart dropped in horror at first, but then realized that my wife is starting to succeed. You have to remember that she has been in a wheelchair for about 8 months now.

From wheelchair to rehab.  From rehab to this. I was so proud of her. Dang, time for a celebration. Let’s go out to Nick and Jakes tonight and get something to eat. I would get her dressed, into her wheelchair and off we would go.

Ah, but she was doing so well, and yet she would cry. So frustrated. All you can do is stay calm, and positive. God will only give you as much as you can handle. No more. No less.

Ten months after her aneurysm, she was starting to understand that something had happened to her. Why am I not at work? I don’t get off until 5pm. What is wrong with me? The only thing I could think of was to have her repeat after me:

  1. I had a Brain Aneurysm.
  2. It was June 1st, 2012
  3. I am still recovering
  4. And I am doing awesome!   Thank you Lord!!!!

We would repeat this 10 times a day it seemed like. Her short term memory was completely gone.

One of the strangest things I remember, not really because I keep a journal, is that we were in the kitchen and she asked me when we were going home.  Now I have been reading and researching Traumatic Brain Injuries and similar and came up with this scenario. I know her very well and this is what I think she was saying. When are we going to heaven with God? I explained to her “not yet”! Let’s watch our children and grandchildren grow and for us to grow old as well. Sometimes I would look her straight in the eye’s to see where she is. I envy her when I do that. She has a certain peace about her.

She truly makes me smile.

 

Hasta la próxima.

It just takes time

If I could, I would wipe the tears from your eyes.                                                                                 But I can’t, because their mine.                                                                                                               And I’m lost, without, the touch of your hands.                                                                                     But soon, it will just take time.                                        Joe Alfers

One of the things, or should I say many of the things I had to do, is to make sure my wife keeps up with her regular medical doctor, her woman parts doctor, Rehabilitation doctor, etc…and dentist appointments.

Basically, to get them all up to date with her health, medications, new life and disability. She had to start all over with everything. It was like training your 2 year old child that weighed 130 pounds how to do the basic hygiene stuff all from the beginning. Not only is that difficult but just like a child, she will fight with you.

As I mentioned earlier, I created some simple “Excel” templates to help me organize myself to take care of her plus keep myself structured at home and work. I was on my own. Nobody was going to do this for me. I won’t go into detail on these items, but you are more than welcome to get an “.xls” or “.doc” file template from me later.  Some of the files were: Medications, Daily Schedule, Misc. Taxable, and Day Care Taxable. Anyway, just a few things that helped me along.

Helping her out of the “rental” hospital bed into her wheelchair. Going to the commode. Wiping, cleaning, bathing, dressing, etc….. She was completely helpless, paralyzed on her right side, and incoherent. This is what the hospital released to me because the insurance would not pay for any more hospital time, or acute rehabilitation time. Ah yes, thank you. But what can you do? There are a lot of people who will grab the bull by the horns and there are even more that won’t. I was one that took the responsibility. I know now, God knew that.

There are a lot of web sites on brain injuries, Dementia, Alzheimer’s, but not really how to deal with it on the caregiver’s side. Injury Groups, and chat sites didn’t really help either. I could not find anything that was as devastating as what this was. I am not saying that the others were not. I just couldn’t find anything. I finally ran into a couple people that had gone through the same situation as I. It was awesome to talk to these people and trade stories. First time I had laughed, and cried with someone in a long time. This was so important. And, so new to me. I was a loner, so to speak, and did not trust anyone.

I am going to keep these blogs short. Don’t want to bore you to death. As we travel though each day, one at a time, I realize that God works at “his” speed. Not ours! We live in a fast pace world. Everything is disposable it seems like. We want recovery now! Just like in the movies. But, reality suggests, that life is not a movie. We will not “snap” out of a coma and wonder why everyone is looking at us funny. Sad to say, but our life can change in the drop of a tater. Live life full, laugh, fart, have some wine and just have fun with your friends, family and lover.

Hasta la próxima.

 

Your Mental and Physical Health

You know, wishing won’t make it so, Hoping won’t do it, praying won’t do it
Religion won’t do it, philosophy won’t do it, The supreme court won’t do it,
The president and the congress won’t do it, The UN won’t do it, the H-bomb won’t do it, The sun and the moon won’t do it, And God won’t do it, And I certainly won’t do it
That leaves you,                           you’ll have to do it

                                                                                                Todd Rundgren

I was a basket case. Emotionally strung out, exhausted, worried, anxious, crying, no one to talk to, and work was backing up. Luckily I could work from home and my employer allowed that. For a while anyway.

Here is an email from my oldest daughter:

Good morning dad. I hope your morning today went a little smoother than the rest of the week has gone, although I realize that’s a slim chance. I just want you to know how much I love you. I know this is so difficult. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard this is for you. Just try to remember that this is just another stage in her recovery and that she is in another time and place right now. So when she is being evil, it’s not directed at you, her husband, but at someone else from her past. And she is taking it out on you because she doesn’t know where she is in time. I think you are such an amazing person. You have taken on this incredibly difficult task. You are WONDERFUL!!!

I love you so much. Try to have a good day. I’ll see you soon.

Yea, I was blessed with good friends and family, but it was still very overwhelming. My sisters would come down about every other weekend. Bake, cook, clean and just visit with me. I appreciated the visit more than anything, but I was still a nervous wreck. I finally made a doctor’s appointment for a physical and just ask him a few questions. To make a long story short he put me on an SSRI. This is what I guess I am trying to say is, I wish I would have gotten on these a year ago.

Not only was I overwhelmed with taking care of my wife, but I was not taking care of myself. I would get sick often, losing weight couldn’t sleep, plus I just did not have the energy or desire to exercise. I even asked friends if I was drinking too much. I wholly recommend talking to your doctor. After getting on the SSRI I slowly started to get my act together again. Not to say that drugs are the way to go, but for me it was a God send. I tend to be a faithful child of God, but I needed a kick in the ass, and the SSRI was it. I know I will not “hopefully” be on these forever, as my wife’s recovery continues.

I am going to keep these blogs fairly light for now so I don’t bore you to death. So for now, take care and we’ll talk later.

 

Hasta la próxima.