confessions of a caregiver

UPDATE: I just got a new job working for an elderly man. His wife has Alzheimer’s (she’s been diagnosed for 6 years but is in remarkable condition) and I am taking care of her on a daily basis.

Yesterday was a hard day. From the moment I walked in the door, O’Greta was obstinate and in a “no” mood.

Drink your water. No.

Let’s do your leg exercises. No.

I’m going to massage your arms and legs. No.

Let’s go for a ride in my car. No.

I started losing patience at about 11:30–after about an hour and a half of the no game–and didn’t know what to do. I sat and waited a lot. I asked the same questions hoping for different answers a lot, which often works. I got frustrated. Then, ah ha! I got creative! I was energetic! I was patient! All of the sudden I expected everything to be better…

Nothing changed.

Now I’m getting desperate. I need food, she needs action, we need to be able to leave the house so I don’t go stir crazy… There are a lot of variables in play that, given enough time, could all explode and leave us with a big mess.

I’m so desperate I text Molly and ask her to pray. I text Victor and ask him to pray. I need those prayers to work.

25 more minutes of “no.” Still nothing.

Then I pray. (What? Why didn’t I think of that way back there at desperate?! Simply, “Lord, please, if she doesn’t get in the car soon, I’m going to lose it.” O’Greta comes prancing out of her back bedroom with her coat on ready to go.

Miracle.

Then we get out and fear takes over. Do I let her out of the car? What if this all happens again in 20 minutes? I really will lose it. But alas, I need to do what’s best for her and walking helps her cool down and get into a good mood again.

We walked around the mall for almost an hour and she was happy as a lark. Prayers answered, feeling high, feeling grateful, infused with new patience, creativity and energy.

Time to go! My car won’t start.

Another prayer. “Lord, please help my car to start.” (It was raining, cold and she’s hungry and so is her husband back at home. Now is not even a good time to get a jump, I just needed it to start.) Car starts.

Miracle.

Head to Panera to grab lunch quickly and get home.

Walk through the rain and cold wind into Panera only to see a sweet friend’s face who brightens my day. She doesn’t frequent Panera to read but today she had decided to for the first time.

Miracle. 

The day got exponentially better. All day. But I could not shake the lesson learned. The gentle teaching of my Father.

He has made me creative, patient and energetic. I think he has specifically gifted me with what I need to work in this type of situation. I love it. But my creativity, my patience,  and my energy is not enough. Yesterday I looked back and saw how several times he drove me back to dependence on him and away from the me that I rely on.

He is gracious to teach me slowly and in real ways.

Colossians 1:29 – For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

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