Constant Vigil

Reality gets distorted by the constant vigil of care giving.

Listening for a cry for help never stops.  At the slightest sound, we awaken.    With epilepsy, our son’s sounds hit our ears with a bang and we need to quickly figure out whether that noise is actually a seizure.

Day and night, 24/7. Our son barges into our bedroom and says “Good job clean up the floor.”  Translation:  “I just peed on the bathroom floor.”  Or, “My bed is all wet.”  It gets taken care of, and yes, it takes it’s toll.

During the day,Tim might be in an important meeting, or simply working, Melissa might be sleeping off a horrible migraine or pains from her primary disability, or just at the occasional visit to the salon and have stinky hair color on her head.  The message comes and everything else is dropped.

Evening time together is often interrupted by visits where our son speaks loudly and wants something right now, such as help on the computer.  This happens most often when we watch the one or two TV shows we like, or we are having an important conversation.  We are derailed every day and every night.

Caregivers work to give as much attention as needed by constantly running to the person in our care. We wear ourselves out.  Ironically, the people we care for also become agitated by our running in and out.

We try to know when we don’t have to come to the rescue and that is a huge challenge because of the “what ifs”.

  You know the “what ifs”:  What if I don’t go to them when I should have?  This is especially challenging when we are awakened from yet another deep sleep, no matter how deep the sleep, because our care for them is strong.

Inadequacy: Care Givers and Greener Grass

You might be wondering, “What is up with that picture at the top of the page?”

Long story short, Tim shot the picture of our unused, overgrown dog run and drought stricken backyard.  Melissa noticed the perfectly trimmed and evenly green grass over the fence in our neighbor’s yard.  And our thoughts turned to care giving…

Many if not all care givers suffer from a sense of inadequacy.  So often we assume that we are not doing enough.  Or doing well enough.  Or that everybody else is doing enough for those in their care and is doing it well.  We gaze at our little corner of failure and assume that just beyond our wretched border are care givers worthy of gleaming Facebook pages and TV movies about their heroics.

The reality is that they are somewhere we can’t see, gazing at their little corner of perceived failure.  The terminally ill die.  The chronically ill stay sick.  The people with special needs don’t progress or when they do they regress.

Our work cannot be measured in the usual outward signs of success.

We do the right thing at the right time, even when the results don’t stick.  Our successes are not like the pride of a perfectly maintained lawn. We’re more like the sweet aroma of the few moments after it rains.

Hello Fellow Care Givers

If you are reading this, you are probably a care giver or you care about someone who is.  And “stinks” probably got your attention.

We are a  family of people giving and getting care.  We won’t bore you with all the details now.  They will come out as we post stuff here.

We’ll be sharing stories and thoughts that help us give and receive care.

We want to mix hope, tenderness and an occasional laugh with tales of frustration, hard work and bodily waste.

We will look forward to your comments.  Hopefully, we can grow into sources of wisdom, comfort and encouragement for one another.  The things you share will likely inspire some of what we write here.