Early on in my life, I decided that when the time came, I wanted to take care of my parents in their old age. But, it’s funny how life can take these unexpected twists. I always thought my dad would outlive my mom. Here we are fourteen years later, living without my dad, and my mom needs help. That’s why I am my mother’s caregiver. I decided a long time ago that that is what I wanted to do.
So let me touch briefly on the how. In December of 2008 my mom was getting increasingly weaker and needed frequent visits to the doctor and hospital. (This is a bit of time after her bouts of radiation for breast cancer and aspiration pneumonia.) At this time, my siblings had obligations of their own and I was without kids or a “career.” My husband was able to handle the mortgage without my income so I was free to live with mom and help her out. Besides it was something I wanted to do. That stay lasted two and a half years. I then headed home for a year and a half. Then in April I came to mom’s for a visit and haven’t gone home since.
Over the past five years, three and a half of them have been as mom’s caregiver. I use the word loosely as I am not medically trained and have been more of a helper than care-giver. I have lived with her 24/7 those three and a half years. (Less brief times away) I have cooked meals, cleaned house, wash, dried and folded laundry, shopped for groceries/Christmas/birthday and wedding gifts. I have chauffeured, changed Oxygen tanks (more recently batteries) on portable condensers, at times literally dragged mom to the ER, visited during hospital stays, been her ears at appointments, someone to argue with, a sounding board, I pray that I have been someone who listens and I have been a companion.
I have done those things and more in helping mom handle her disease.