|Mother-in-law, Carol, with Robert|
Which means when I took over caring for him I had to fix a lot of financial issues.
Caregiving for Robert has kind of crept up on me.
It started one Thanksgiving with Other Brother and I dealing with a homeless woman Robert and his companion brought home and who gave Robert a black eye. Around this same time, Robert was battling an infection and he was hospitalized a couple of times.
Other Brother visited him since he worked in the same city as Robert was hospitalized and I was in contact with his medical team. Once he was discharged, I took Robert to a couple of doctor appointments. The infection kept returning and became life-threatening.
Then it was an avalanche of caregiving: a trip to the emergency room; emergency surgery; several weeks of IV antibiotics; discharge to a Skilled Nursing Facility; move to an Assisted Living Facility; a few more hospital visits – and that was all within four months.
Five years later, Richard (hubby) and I are caring for Robert full-time while he lives with us.
It is hard to believe all this has happened in five years. It is also difficult to believe the things I do now that I never thought I would.
This can only mean one things: it’s time for a list!
Before caregiving, I never thought I would . . .
- Be caregiver to Robert;
- Have a husband who was willing to help care for my disabled brother;
- Know so much about epilepsy (even though Robert has had it his entire life);
- Be strong enough to discuss Robert’s care and treatment options with his doctors;
- Be strong enough to stand up to an emergency room nurse who was giving Robert the wrong medication;
- Do so much laundry!;
- See Robert using a walker;
- See Robert making nurses laugh out loud with his jokes;
- See Robert live to middle-age;
- Spend more time with Robert than I do Other Brother (who I am much closer to);
- Be able to pronounce the slew of medications Robert is on. And be able to recognize them by sight;
- Mix water and juice with a powder so that it is “nectar thick;”
- Have so much Rocky Road Ice Cream in my freezer;
- Teach Robert how to be patient with a puppy;
- Give Robert a bath;
- Clean Robert after an accident. Every day. Sometimes several times a day;
- Watch my husband do the same;
- Enjoy Family Feud and Jeopardy as much as I do (shh! Don’t tell!);
- Know enough about Skilled Nursing Facilities and Assisted Living Facilities to help others;
- Did I mention all the laundry?;
- Wonder so much before going out if there will be an accessible bathroom;
- See my non-affectionate brother, Robert, hug my daughter when she visited recently;
- Wonder: Hey! Where’s my hug?!;
- Be a published author of a book about caregiving and family;
- Be an author of several articles on caregiving;
- Keep such an eagle eye on a cough and congestion – willing the bacteria to stay away;
- Make so many new friends who are all caring for someone with compassion and love or helping those who do;
- Give up my family room and downstairs bath to accommodate Robert;
- Slow down enough to let Robert participate in a conversation and answer questions;
- Fill so fulfilled from doing something I never had planned to do;
- Watch a beautiful friendship develop between Robert and my mother-in-law, Carol;
If you are a caregiver, what is something you never thought you would do?