I know most people think that you keep the person clean, well fed and give them medication when time is due, that is the life of a caregiver for most but when you take on one person, whether live with them or go daily to stay with them, things take a new direction. You become this persons companion. You learn what the person likes and hates, what the person did all their life and why.
You learn what this person wants to do but is scared to get back to doing, or fears it will never happen. You live with their happiness and their tears.
I have to say that the person I have now and the one I had last time both have the same goal, as less medication as possible and to get up and go again. I like that they do not want to lay up on pain pills.
I have been told by doctors that I am a very good caregiver. A compliment I proudly accept. I have to say that I tend to go the extra mile and I refuse to wallow in pity with them, they know this. Although depression accompanies illness I do not allow it! Cry, wipe it up and more forward.
I have my cousin now, he has stage 4 lung cancer and was given 2 years to live, but was never expected to leave ICU five months after the diagnosis. That was back in May of 2016, he took treatment and had a surgery, He is in remission and doing excellent. Last week he has decided to ween himself off all the inhalers and breathing medication, so I watch and listen closer but he is doing just fine! He once took a hit off the emergency inhaler not because he was having a hard time but he has learned “that feeling” of when he needs it.
He went from being on life support, relearning to walk to now, he walks 5 laps a day, which equals 5 city blocks. I walk too but I do not walk with him, I walk at my speed he walks at his.
And when I ask ” Are you feeling okay?”
He replies ” Yes I got you in my head.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
He said ” I hear, slow deep breaths, relax your shoulders, he tired take a break… stuff like that.”
I smiled, knowing my few words of encouragement was heard.
So being a caregiver is more like cook, housekeeper, nurse, physical therapist and mental health support.
By Andria Perry
Photos By Pixabay