I read an article in a magazine last month, and I was truly engrossed. As a Caregiver to Momma, I am all about finding out tips, or suggestions, from other’s that also occupy “my sort of world”. The article was very informative, with the exception, the article was written for an Alzheimer’s Caregiver.
Momma does not have Alzheimer’s, although I am familiar with that disease too. My Cousin/Aunt Kay had it, and it wasn’t pretty either. It seems to me that there are a lot of Diseases out there, and they are given a lot of time in the news, or front-runner of charities.
Momma has Parkinson’s. (I know you all know this, but go with me on my train of thought for the moment). While I acknowledge that Alzheimer’s is a very nasty thing, I would like to add that Parkinson’s rates right up there too.
But again, I digress, and I am famous for that. My mind is going so fast that I am having a hard time keeping up with what I originally started out to say. That happens to me sometimes.
The article that I read, gave some idea’s on how Caregiver’s could retain their well-being. It’s hard to be a Caregiver, especially if you are a Caregiver to a member of your family. There are so many dynamics that enter into the picture. You hurt just not for the person going through it, but also for all of the family members going through it with the person. Be it, Mother, Father, sister, brother, or you, the person that has it.
I am a unique person and I acknowledge this (I am not patting myself on the back here, I am letting you into my world). When I look at Momma, and I know momma. I see what she see’s. I put myself into her shoes, and I realize to an extent how it feels.
I would not like the fact, that I am no longer able to any thing by myself. I am at every one’s mercy for my well-being. I used to be able to get up by myself and go to the restroom and wipe my own butt, I could give myself a bath, I could dress myself, and walk by myself into the other room. I could grab my car keys and drive myself anywhere. I could form a sentence and carry on a conversation with anyone. I did not see things that are not there, I was able to carry on and eat anything I wanted. But now? Now I am reduced to not being able to do anything myself. I cannot even roll over in bed by myself. I am fed by a tube, and I so crave a simple piece of pepperoni pizza. I’m scared of the night-time, and I don’t like the dark. I have so many thoughts going on in my head, and I cannot make my mouth say them. Sometimes, I get the words out and I let my husband and daughter know how much I love them, but my mind is clouded and I cannot form my words. I choke on my own spit, and get scared. I had so many dreams of when I got older, this was not one of them.
These are some of the thoughts in my head, when I put myself into Momma’s shoes. I’ve talked to Momma, and these things are true. While Caregiver Beth and the Farmer, get some good things, Momma shares with me her innermost thoughts at times. I’ve carried this inside me for so long, that I am erupting in emotions about now.
I guess, as the Daughter of a Momma with Parkinson’s it is important for me to know these things. I only have my Momma’s best interests at heart. While I cannot easily say this does not hurt, because it does, maybe, it is something I was meant to do. Simply because of events in my life have led me to this point.
With all of the above being said, my true reason for writing this post was to put into motion that Caregivers, need Caregivers as well. There are times when I am so low that I cannot even see daylight. When I feel that the burden is too much for me to bear. But you know what? There is daylight, and there are great memories, and it is what it is. I am a very lucky girl. I have a family that loves me, and will not let me do this by myself. I have a wealth of Caregivers, who give me care. From the Electrician, who supports me and lets me do this, even while we may not have enough money that we need, to my kids, who just call me to say what’s up, to my friends I’ve met through my blogging world who keep tabs on me.
Life is a journey, embrace every moment, enjoy everything, tell each and every person that you Love, you love them. And at the end of the day, know that you have given your all. Sometimes life throws us some curve balls, just be ready to catch them, and above all, believe in your heart, and go with it.
Quite a few people have asked me, “Why do you take care of your Mother, instead of putting her into a Nursing Home? Then, there was the other question, “Why did you take your Momma OUT of the Nursing home?” Then the other question “You must be a Saint or a hero or something to do all that, why do you do it?”
Why do I take care of the Farmer and Momma? Because they are my parents. Also, because the Electrician has allowed me to do this. The Electrician told me to quit my job and just concentrate on the Farmer and Momma.
When he first said this, he was on the road working away from home 5 days a week and coming home on the weekends. The only thing he asked of me was that I would be home on the weekends to spend with him. That was no problem.
Since then, the Electrician has been laid off, and while I suggested I would go back to work, he knows I really don’t want to. You see, I have a job. Up until a couple of days ago, my job was to babysit my Grandson, and take care of Momma.
Now, my job is to concentrate on Momma and the Farmer. Sure, they could hire a bunch of caregiver’s, but I honestly feel Momma responds better with me, than a stranger. A therapist at the Nursing home told me, that I had the “touch” with Momma.
I take care of Momma, because I WANT to, and also because I feel the NEED to. I’m not a Saint, or a hero, but I am a DAUGHTER.
Why is Momma not in a Nursing home? Because, when Momma was in the Nursing home, while it is a perfectly good facility, they could not care for Momma like the Farmer and I do.
Parkinson’s Disease is not something pretty to watch, or deal with. But the Farmer and I have an understanding of how Momma operates. We can both tell the sign’s of an onset, and know how to make her feel better or “safe”. Sometimes, all’s it takes to calm her down is a big hug, or a hand to hold. If it is a really big onset, then I have been known to climb in the bed with her and just hold her until she calms down. You can’t get that from a Nursing home.
For us, in our situation, it is more feasible for us to care for her at home. We have 3 different “Caretakers” that come in and help to. But quite honestly, the Farmer and I are the main Caregivers.
Is it taxing? Hell yes. Are their days we wonder why we do it? Hell yes. Are their times, when we wish we could run away? Hell no, uhm…ok Hell yes.
Somedays, I feel like a glorified housekeeper of the Farmer’s house, while I will admit, sometimes my house suffers. But I have the Electrician who is helping me through this every step of the way. When I have spent the day scrubbing the Farmer’s house and doing a million loads of laundry and I’ve cooked breakfast (although, I seriously do not ever cook the Electrician breakfast). I’ve had a rough time with Momma and I just don’t feel like doing anything around my house, I come home and my Electrician has cleaned the house, done the laundry AND made me dinner. So, basically, I’m not in this by myself. The Electrician is my Caretaker, and he really does a great job.
But ya know what it all boils down to for me? The Farmer has been my Dad my whole life, Momma has been my Momma for 31 years, the Farmer needs me right now, and I would never let him deal with this on his own. To have the Electrician’s blessing is icing on my cake.
So, why am I a Caretaker? Because I am a daughter.