I’m your host, Lori.
Chances are if the name of this blog caught your eye you’re either interested in caregiving, knee deep in a caregiving situation, or your drawn to anything crazy.
No matter your reasoning, you are in the right place.
Caregiving is my jam.
I didn’t set out to be a caregiver. I didn’t attend a seminar and sign a contract stating I would spend the bulk of my life caring for others. It just sort of happened. Through a series of decisions, (mainly involving a dislike of condoms and my chosen degrees) here I am.
Let me introduce you to my care receiving cast.
I am the wife of an amazing man. After 24 years together, I still really dig him. He is by no means a heavy hitter on my list, but he’s on it just the same.
I’m the owner of a Saint Bernard. Don’t even roll your eyes! When your dog weighs 150 pounds, he makes the list.
I am the mother of four amazing kids.
Our oldest, adult-age, son is disabled. (It feels weird even preparing to type my next statement since I rarely think it.) Our son is not biologically mine. I chose him. He chose me. Twenty-four years later, we’d both make the same choice.
By the grace of God, our son is not a full-time caregiving situation. Though his needs ebb and flow, I see myself as more of his permanently-employed-life-manager-that-works-for-hugs.
At the risk of being “one of those moms”, he’s kind of big deal in the Special Olympics basketball scene and totally needs a manager.
Our three daughters are ages 13, 12, and 10. Three girls that will all attend high school at the same time.
Let that marinate a second.
My retirement plan… a crap-ton of stock in Tampax.
I’m not just a mom and a wife.
I am also a geriatric psych nurse.
If caretaking was an Olympic sport (and I speak for all geriatric psych nurses)… I’d be Michael Phelps.
Since this is my blog, I’d have his abs too.
Most nurses have strong personalities. We have to in this field. That makes caring for this population incredibly tricky. It doesn’t matter what I know or what I can do. All that matters is what they know and they can do. Protecting and caring for someone who no longer understands your reality is challenging.
Caring for a group of individuals who no longer understand your reality, and don’t share a reality, is a shit show.
You’re sitting on your favorite chair, watching your favorite TV show. There’s a knock at your door. Before you can even answer it a stranger walks in. All smiles, like she has every right to be there. She walks right up to you and starts telling you what she’s going to do.
Half of what is said is in your native tongue. The other half is gibberish.
You look over where your husband should be sitting in his chair. He’ll put a stop to this! Your husband’s not there. Hell, his chair is gone too!
Maybe he’s still at work. He worked late on Tuesdays. It must be Tuesday.
Why isn’t the dog barking? Adopted that beast in 1972. Best dog you ever owned. Defended his family like it was his sole purpose.
Did this stranger harm your dog?
Now this smiling psychopath, with no respect for your home, is taking off your shoe. Words like wound and infection get thrown into the air around you.
You don’t have an infection in your foot! You’ve been an avid runner your entire life. You’d know if your foot had an infection.
Now, what do you do?
The answer is clear. You kick that hussy right in the face and knock the crazy right out of her.
Again, my reality doesn’t matter. If I want to keep my pearly whites, I better get into her reality. STAT.
Geriatric psych nursing is a tough gig. It’s also one of the greatest joys of my life.
When someone is lost and looks at you, or hears your voice, and relaxes because they know they’re safe, it’s magical. They can’t communicate why they feel that. They can’t even reason it out for themselves. None of that matters, for some reason, they know you will protect them.
It’s what I imagine a hug from Jesus feeling like.
Now lets move on to #1 on the list. The main attraction. The star of the show.
My newest charge that has inspired this blog.
My 82–year-old dad.
Nine months ago I returned to my home state, in part, to see my dad through the last leg of his life. His heart is failing. He’s fought hard, but as his mind and body deteriorates he needs an ally and my elderly mom can no longer carry the burden alone.
This blog is not a tale of grief. Far from it, I hope.
May I present to you the misadventures of a daughter and her dad. A story of our winding road, that’s sure to be lined with dumpster fires, that will one day lead to grief.
Seems weird. I hate to point out the obvious, but this story will end. My dad will die. I suppose in Ohio things are different than in Hollywood.
Here, the heroes die.
My personal goal is simple.
I hope to look back on this caregiving experience and know that I gave it my all. Be able to read between the lines of my failures and frustrations and see love. To have a living, breathing, documented legacy of all the moments that touched my heart and the moments I never want to forget.
My goal for my readers is vast.
As my caregiving responsibilities increase, I’m optimistic that you will find value in watching an unbiased professional transform into a very biased daughter. May you read my professional and personal experiences and consider a different lens to view your own circumstance.
May those of you drowning in your role as a caregiver see my story and know you are killing it. Remember, I’m Michael Phelps. How much sweeter are your victories compared to mine?
May those of you facing the role of a caregiver feel more prepared. Feel supported. Feel like your entering the coolest clique in town and not the abyss.
May you all shake your head (because yes, I will say inappropriate things), laugh till your weakened pelvic floor gives way, and feel thankful for your role as a caregiver.
Forever your crazy caregiver,