Wednesday, March 26, 2014

One Word Wednesday

My new blog friend Lisa, who blogs at MY SWEET PEANUT (I love the name) is the full-time caregiver to her mom, who has Alzheimer's. Since I have met up with her, and others who are in (or have been) in this same position as I find myself, it makes coping with our confusion, sadness, joy, good times and bad times easier for me. We share and offer each other encouragement. Lisa has decided to start a link-up called One Word Wednesday and I want to invite all of you who are or have been caregivers to come and join. This week the word that she has chosen is nurture.

Nurture! As a verb it means to care for, to encourage the growth or development of. And as a noun it means the process of caring for or encouraging the growth or development of someone. I have not always been a nurturer. And I am not really certain that I am all that good at it now. Sometime along the way I found myself needing to become more educated so that I could provide a good living to two sons. So I went to our local community college to see what I could find. They had just started a new Associate Degree in Nursing Program. The counselor, who was helping me, really tried to get me excited about this program. I wasn't buying into it at all until he told me how much money nurses made. At that time so long ago it was $8.69 an hour. Sounded like a fortune to me. So I signed up. I wondered if I would be able to do the job. I don't particularly like sick people or their body fluids. I was luckily blessed with kids who were never sick and I dealt very little with illnesses.
Not long into the program, while sitting with an elderly lady at a nursing home, I found my niche. I was amazed at how much I instantly cared for what this little lady was saying to me as I held her hand and listened. Yes, nursing was for me.
I graduated and went to work on the 11p-7a shift, where I continued to work for the next 20 years. In a hospital. Like most nurses, I was often spread too thin. Lots of tasks. Staff to direct. Care to be given. And many hands to hold. It seemed like it was at night (when the rest of the world sleeps, but not the patients in a hospital) I learned how to nurture. It is not a God given talent in my estimation. I think you have to put something into it. I had to learn how to do it. And I fell in love with being a caregiver. A nurturer.
I spent a few years working in long term care before Richard had his stroke and needed me full time at home. Being a full-time nurturer is the hardest job I have ever had. It has brought me more happiness and more heartache than I could have ever imagined. I have no intentions of doing it any other way. As long as he needs me I will be here to nurture him.

Thank you Lisa for this new weekly link up. Now you all go check her out and leave your story. Tell us why you are (or are not) a nurturer. Go on...you know you want to!

14 comments:

  1. Hi Paula .. just really clocking in - to say I haven't forgotten you! Had some things being sorted out here and am nearly free of them ... I want to read properly ... cheers Hilary

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  2. Paula, I just love reading your words and learning your history. I am so jealous of your training and skill. I often worry that I just don't have the right knowledge to care properly for mom. And then I get to read that hand holding and listening and caring were the things that convinced you that you were meant to be a nurse and I feel better! I can hand-hold and listen and care with the best of them. It means a lot to know that this life is hard for you, even as an accomplished nurse. Gives me hope!
    Thank you so much for linking up and sharing. You're fabulous!

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    1. Lisa, you are just too kind! Of course the loving hands of a daughter is so much better than those of a stranger. And yes it is HARD even for me. And I get angry and upset and short with him. Just the same as you do with your mom. I never want anyone to think I am a saint. Cause it isn't the truth. I have said more than once, this is the hardest job I have ever had.

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  3. Paula, I believe that God knew exactly what he was doing when he put that nursing job out there for you. I am sure that you were a spectacular nurse. It is evident in the way you care for Richard and the kids.

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    1. I think HE knew me too! Nursing is the best job I ever had. And I love the elderly!!

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    2. Paula and Lisa, Please allow me to share this with you. I would really appreciate some input in all of this. I get so frustrated and so angry.

      oh fuck a duck Wendy- we have to come up with a plan that is better for mom-
      17 hours ago · Like

      Wendy Klik Mom is going to react the same regardless of the plan. She just lives moment to moment.
      16 hours ago · Like

      Dawn Mager I understand that- but last night Ryan said "Mom, would you want us to do this for you or put you in a nice place with people your age- I picked opt 2 - she loves being around people her age and its not like a smelly nursing home its a place where she has her own room and bath and a big room where she can go and be with others that will ask her the same questions and they can be cra cra together- not this panic where she is running out the door wanting to go home- or telling frank she wants to walk home- we need to do what is best for mom not what relieves our guilt or whatever it is us kids feel when our parents get sick
      16 hours ago · Like

      Wendy Klik Well you had a rough few days before Mom came to you this time so you weren't quite up to dealing with her. The week before you were saying what a great time she had at the house with you and Teaghyn. We will just keep taking it one day at a time. I am not ready yet to shove her away somewhere. No one else is going to be as patient and as kind to her as we are.
      16 hours ago · Like

      Janet Dubrul Sullivan Your plates are full to over-flowing..... Hang in there Cuz.
      16 hours ago · Unlike · 1

      Tom Mager Well the next time we have mom, Dawn works for 3 days, 4 days with mom, then 3 more days of work. Its a 10 day stretch we will not be spending any quality time together, that is going to be rough.
      14 hours ago · Like

      Tom Mager While Dawn was gone taking Ryan to the doctor I spent the couple of hours with mom, she just kept getting upset wanting to know where Dawn went. Mom was mad because she wanted to be taken home at the same time they left, and she didn't want to wait any longer to leave, saying it over and over and I had to tell her over and over she was spending the night and would not be leaving when they got back.
      14 hours ago · Like

      Wendy Klik yes, it is very difficult for all of us and it is probably going to get worse. Believe me Frank and I completely understand not having any quality time together. At least you know it will end after 10 days so just hold on to that thought. It doesn't matter where she is she doesn't recognize it as home but she does recognize that she is with people who love her. Hang in there guys, this too will pass and then we will be glad that we gave her all the love, time and attention that we could.
      13 hours ago · Like · 1

      Dawn Mager I dont think that you do understand, you and Frank have taken many vacations and another in a week - that leaves dick jackie tom and I - while I understand that you have mom alot this has been your choice, since the start of this we havent had any input nor know upcoming plans it is very difficult to really know what is best for mom, and that truely comes from my heart- I honestly do not feel that mom being shoved from your home to mine to Dicks does her any good that is just my feel on this. I love you and this is such a touchy subject everyone feels like they are walking on eggshells.
      7 hrs · Like

      Wendy Klik Yes and this is not the venue for this discussion. And if I recall we already had a family meeting so that you could all have input.
      29 mins · Like

      Tom Mager Its time to re-evaluate what we're doing for moms care, obviously this is not working.
      8 mins · Like

      Wendy Klik I will say it again. This is not the venue!!! Things are going to be said that are going to cause hurt feelings. Facebook is not meant for this kind of discussion. We can have another family meeting if you want but at least we can do it privately.
      6 mins · Like

      Tom Mager that's what I am saying.
      5 mins · Like

      Wendy Klik Set it up.
      5 mins · Like

      Tom Mager ok

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    3. Oh my word. It sounds to me like they can't handle it anymore. I think they don't understand Alzheimers disease at all. Believe me I have worked in a home that had a LOCKED Alzheimers unit (in fact I worked in two homes that had these) and they were AWFUL. Yes they were beautiful on the outside and they cleaned it up for the state inspections but people wandered in and out of others rooms. Men slept with women that weren't their wives and the staff just turned their heads. People defacated and urinated whereever they wanted to. They had a huge mouse population because people with Alzheimers often hide food. I saw people come in on a functioning level who rapidly became bedfast because the staff didn't really care whether they got up or stayed in bed. We had people who escaped and were found downtown. I think it is time for Tom and Dawn to step back and if they don't want to help with her anymore than let them help pay for someone to come sit with her so that you can get away. I can't believe they are 'bitching' because you get to take a vacation. All the time they don't have your mom is a vacation. It is sad that it has come down to this. Is Dawn your sister? I doubt they are going to change their minds. You will just have to change the way you do things. How often do they REALLY have mom. Sending you a huge hug. And i agree with you, Facebook causes more problems than it solves. It is the cowards way of dealing with problems. Loving you Wendy and saying prayers.

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    4. Thanks Paula, I just got off the phone with Dawn (yes she is my sister) and she acknowledged that she was having a bad week. I did tell her to step away if she had to and that I would make other arrangements if need be but she responded that she would never do that and that she understands this is not just my mother. Dawn really does believe that Mom would be happier in a more stable environment where she is not passed around place to place. I believe it wouldn't make any difference to Mom because she doesn't recognize any place as home anyway. Thanks for letting me vent and thanks for supporting my stance on nursing homes. The couple that I have looked at (should the time come) appeared very nice but they are very expensive 4-5 K per month. We only have enough $ to last about a year so I think we should wait until we are unable to care for her ourselves any longer. Thanks for giving me a shoulder. Sorry to burden you with our troubles.

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    5. It is never a burden Wendy! Yes I know exactly what you mean about the cost of nursing homes. That is why I keep Richard at home. There is no way I could afford to place him in a home. I will keep him here until I can't do it any longer. I agree with you in that your mom isn't going to know any place as home and it isn't going to make a bit of difference to here whether she is passed around or not. Dawn might need more education about Alzheimer's and maybe a visit to an Alzheimer's Nursing home might help. Good luck

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  4. I think this is a nice meme; will have to do it some time! This was interesting to read how you got into the field of nursing and that you found your glitch which later you were able to use for your own care giving with your husband. It is a very difficult field I think to be a nurse, to be a caring one, but sounds like it was a great match for you!

    betty

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    1. Thank you betty. And do come join us. Lisa would love it.

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  5. Hi Paula .. I've come back and read .. it was good to read your start in life. I worked in an old people's home as a late teen and hated it. My mother started a Care Home which she owned for 20 years .. I was happier in the kitchen doing the cooking. Then when my mother had her strokes and ended up being bed-ridden I became the carer, though not the nursing care ... as she was in a Nursing Centre, once she came out of the hospital system.

    Thankfully she could talk, as could my uncle-in-law on my father's side - who lived near here .. so my caring was really just being there for them and giving them that stability and someone they could trust in .. as time went on. Even that was exhausting .. and I wasn't doing any washing, dressing etc ..

    Looking after your mother, and then turning turtle and ensuring your husband is as loved and as cared for as a wife could ... I admire you Paula and your readers .. and it will be so interesting reading your thoughts .. all the best

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    1. Thanks Hilary. It is not a job any of us want. We don't apply. The pay stinks. But we do it. Day after day after day.

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I love to hear what you might think. Leave me a comment. I guarantee though that I will delete your comment if you are just here to cause trouble. So tread lightly!