Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Admission...

I am........a hugger! I have been for quite a while. Some may not have known that about me, others know it all too well. I don't hide it, I mean, it's not something I can really hide. I love hugs!!! I love getting them, I love giving them, it's just who I am. Now don't get me wrong and don't worry, I don't just go up to random people and start hugging them, not at all. But, if you've been around me and know me well, then you have probably received one from me.(Wanted or unwanted at times. I do try to take into consideration that there are some people that are just not like me. They don't care for them much...shocking! Sometimes I may miss that seemingly obvious hesitation because it comes as such a natural thing for me, and I could never even begin to imagine a hug being unwanted!) I thrive on them! Hugs just make me happy, for me they reach all the way to the heart. I often walk down the hallway looking forward to receiving one, two, or a few hugs from my kids. It is almost offensive to me if one of my kids should walk by without sharing one with me. I know some of you may not agree with me or feel the same way as I do about this, but I make no apologies, as I said before...this is who I am. For me, hugs are necessary, heartfelt, and my way of life. I enjoy my alone times, but I don't think I could function without hugs in my life. I do have to share that I don't believe at all that hugs only come in the form of a physical touch, many are felt in other ways...a text, a kind word spoken, a nice deed done for someone, a listening ear, a prayer...many different ways. I guess the reason why I chose to write this post is because I have received many hugs this week from many different people in many different ways. Each of those hugs this week has felt like a direct message of love from God himself. Tuesday I received a hug from a former employer, I guess I could just say a friend, another came from a friend in the form of a wonderful chicken dinner for me that was totally unexpected. Wednesday and Thursday I received hugs from parents of former students, where again, I can just say friends, through several texts or words of encouragement or actual physical hugs. I also received some from co-workers...again,friends, who encouraged me by talking with me and helping me in different ways. And all throughout the week, I have gotten sweet hugs from my kids, little and big. I love it! I thrive on it! Whatever your feelings about hugs, think about sharing one today, it doesn't have to be a physical one if that's not your thing. Think of other ways of sharing a hug. Send an encouraging text or note, talk to someone and listen to them, and give them time to share with you, make a nice treat for someone, offer to pray with someone, just show someone you care. Those kinds of hugs are doable for anyone. But if you're not ashamed to admit you're like me, just go up to someone (again probably not just anyone) and share that physical hug, it's a great thing. I feel so much better after admitting this. I hope this won't change your thoughts of me, I hope it will maybe change your thoughts about those wonderful things called hugs...share one today.
Lord, thank you for hugs, especially the ones you send to us to remind us how much You love us.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Caregiver

Of course things vary from day to day, so this is more of just snippets and examples of every day life, some days are easier than others, and some are quite difficult. Get up and get washed up for the day...go into mom's room to get Bella to take her out and tell mom to get up to go to the bathroom...take Bella out...go back inside to finish getting ready for the day...if mom hasn't gotten up, remind her again to get up to go to the bathroom. If she has gotten out of bed, check on her and make sure she is OK. If everything is OK, continue to get ready for school, and spend time with the Lord. Then there are the days, when things are not OK and at some point of the morning the words, "I'm soaking wet" are heard. That means stop whatever getting ready is going on to take care of that. Go into mom's room, take the wet sheets off the bed, put them downstairs to be ready for the laundry later (the laundry can't be started or else mom feels she has to go help finish it, and cannot be going up and down the stairs, especially with laundry or the laundry basket in her hands)...wipe down the pad on the bed...put the clean sheets on the bed...go check on her again, take her wet clothes and put them downstairs as well to make sure she does not just put them with the other clothes in the laundry basket... then sometimes there are the hard moments trying to encourage her to understand that she is not a burden, she is not too much trouble, or ugly, or just needing to be in a nursing home. That in itself can take so much out of the caregiver. Then if it's not the time to take care of the wet things, it's the time to find the missing things...the glasses that are not in the case or on the table in the room, or on the dresser, or on the kitchen table, or in the bathroom, but on the couch in the living room...or the wig that is not on the styrofoam head, or the crate next to it, or in the bed, or under the bed, or on the chair where some clothes are kept, or in the living room, or in the kitchen (and yes, I checked the food closet, the oven and even the refrigerator and freezer!! No place is out of bounds these days.), who would have guessed that it would be in one of dad's old hats in the hall closet. It was a rainy day, and she put the hat on to take Bella out I'm sure, then it stayed in the hat. After taking care of all of that, then finish getting ready to go. Scramble the egg, get the toast, and the butter, put it on the plate for mom to make her egg sandwich for when she eats breakfast. Make toast for myself to bring to school for my breakfast. Make sure mom's pills are on her plate so she will remember to take them...head off to school. Give my energy for things needed there...come home and take Bella out...try to convince her to come inside after a while...make dinner or heat up what is already in the refrigerator...give mom "permission" to take her mom get her dinner or her drink back to her room so she can sit in bed and eat...get Bella's dinner and bring it in to mom's dinner...wash the dishes and clean the kitchen...get ready for evening...take Bella out again...go try to relax a little before bedtime. Sometimes that includes taking care of the laundry, or being available for mom's beck and call for whatever she needs for that moment. And sometimes, thankfully, I get to just blog it out. Sometimes it's putting cream on the spots, putting lotion on the legs and feet, clipping the toenails, or taking care of the face. Other times there is a bit of time to relax and zone out downstairs. These things can truly exhaust the caregiver, but sometimes with so many things on the mind and so many emotions, it is hard for sleep to come to the caregiver. It does eventually come, but all too soon comes the morning where it starts again. Would the caregiver want it any other way? Of course not, even though it's difficult, it's what the caregiver chooses and feels pleased to do. Realizing that they were cared for for years, the caregiver wants to be able to give back and care for the one who cared for them. There are lots of emotions that go along with the care, which cannot be seen or shown to the one being cared for, so the caregiver many times just has to deal with those emotions on his/her own. This is not meant to be a "feel bad for the caregiver" post, but just a little knowledge of what caregivers do on a daily basis. To all those who are caregivers, you are doing a great job honoring your loved ones. Be encouraged that there are some that can understand what days may be like for you and those people want to encourage you to keep on keeping on.
*As I finished posting this last night, I realized I missed a couple of things for after school. Many times it's not just coming home from school. Sometimes it entails heading to the grocery store to pick up things that cannot wait until the weekend. Sometimes it's rushing home to pick do a quick pick-up to head to an appointment, whether it be the doctor, physical therapist, dermatologist, or neurologist...although there are many more appointments that need to be made for the person being cared for. Sometimes it's going from that appointment to something else as well. Then coming home to take Bella out, get dinner, give permission for the bath, also answer several times what day it is. The frustration level from answering that has amazingly gotten much better though. After dinner and a little time to relax, take Bella out again, head inside to give Bella her fresh breath treat, and give mom her night time meds. Pray with her so she will sleep well without seeing black things when she closes her eyes, which hasn't been mentioned much lately.
Now that should take care of the evening things that were thought of afterward. If any others come to mind they will be added too. :)
Lord, thank you for caring for the caregiver. Help us to draw our strength from You.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

10 years

10 years ago tomorrow is a day that changed America forever. I will never forget it. Oddly enough it was a crazy year before September 11. We weren't even in school yet. We couldn't be in our school building because the old part of it had to be torn down. There were some problems with the process and it took longer than expected because of the problems encountered by the people doing the work. Since we couldn't be in the school building we were prepared to move over to the church, but that didn't work out either. We had a meeting to give parents what they needed to get started at home until we could start. So, we were not in school that day. 10 years ago, mom and dad were still healthy and well, and were both at the Town Hall as a temp, and dad at Cigna where he worked as a cook for 30 years or so. That morning I was sleeping in since I didn't have anywhere to be. My neighbor called that morning probably around 9 or so and asked if I had been watching the news. I oddly enough had gotten up and was doing a few things, but hadn't turned the TV on yet, which was not normal for me. I normally turn the TV on first thing so I can watch the news, but this morning for some reason I didn't. My neighbor told me that a couple of planes had crashed into the World Trade Center buildings. I was shocked to hear it, but somehow in my mind it didn't compute that it was here, it had to be "someplace else". When I turned on the news, I was shocked to see what I was seeing. I couldn't take my eyes off of the TV. I think I called my mom to see how they were doing there at Town Hall. Thankfully they were fine there. I don't remember if I called my dad, I don't think I knew how to get ahold of him in the kitchen of Cigna. I just looked forward to them both getting home, so we could be together during this crazy time. The worst thing for me was knowing that I wouldn't even be able to be home with them that night because I was supposed to be house/cat/mom sitting for a family from my mom's church. Her daughter and son-in-law were going on a mini vacation and I was staying over the house for a night or two so they could get away. I hoped that maybe they would cancel. The last thing I wanted was to be away from home that night. When I got over to the house of this couple, they hadn't had the TV on and didn't know what was happening. I told them and they turned it on when I got there and watched it for a little bit before they left. So, there I was in this house trying to be comfortable, but it's extra hard on a day like this. It was weird sleeping in a different house that night, when I just wanted to be safe in my house, in my bed, with my parents. I had the weirdest dream that night, too. I dreamed that we were at a church and were being attacked. We had to go into a basement or bunker or something like that to be safe from these bombs and things going off. It was pretty freaky, especially waking up from it and being in a weird house. It was a rough night for me. I was so glad to get back home after they came back. I think I ended up just watching the news and talk shows and everything I could to see what I hadn't been able to see while I was "sitting". My heart kept breaking over and over as I saw the heartbreaking images from that day. Hearing the stories of loved ones, hearing final messages that some of the victims sent to their families, seeing the images of those that felt it would be better to just jump rather than stay in that burning building. I was forever touched and changed by that day, as I know the whole world was. I was also never more proud to be an American. I was so proud to see so many flags on homes, cars, everywhere! We came together as we so often do in times of tragedy. I didn't know anyone who died that day, but my cousin actually worked in one of the World Trade Centers. That day, oddly enough, but thankfully, he overslept. One of his friends called him to see if he could get in touch with him. His friend was shocked that he answered. My cousin jumped up and was about to get off of the phone to get ready to head off to work, but his friend told him to turn on the TV to see what was going on because he wasn't going to be able to go to work that day. He was shocked! What a moment for him, mixed emotions of not having been there, but thinking of the people he worked with who lost their lives, and then the reality of not having a job either. What a tough time, so many innocent lives lost, so many moms, dads, brothers, sisters, family members, friends, police officers, firefighters. Along with the almost 3,000 lives lost that day, jobs were lost, buildings were lost, and our security, comfort, and innocence were also lost. These evil men brought such destruction and devastation, and tried to destroy America, but they just proved to bring us together and make us stronger. We are still standing, and by God's grace we are still here. Things have changed and we are much more leery and careful, but we are still strong.
Lord, that was a tough, scary, extremely sad day for America, but you weren't missing on that day. You were there the whole time, watching and taking care of us. Thank you for allowing us to continue to be one nation under You. Thank you for being an ever faithful God!