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!