Sunday, November 29, 2015

Appreciation Day

Holiday dinners here are happening less and less in the last few years, but with each one, I recall with fondness the many times Dean and I had friends over for Sabbath dinner in years past. There was hardly a week that we didn't invite someone over, or were invited out ourselves. Fellowship dinners at church were also special. But not as intimate and friendly as a home setting.

I loved planning and preparing a meal for others. I never knew who or how many Dean would invite to our home. I learned quickly in our marriage to be ready for last-minute invitations, especially for random visitors at church. But my, how times have changed since Dean's brain injury. It has impacted our life in so many ways.

This makes Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners with family all the more precious to us both. I so enjoyed getting out the good china this year, planning the seating and dishes to be served, and having our loved ones gather around for a special meal.

This year, our daughter Kayla and I came up with a plan to get everyone to share what they appreciated about each other. She started by going around our circle of family members and telling what she appreciated about each one. Then invited the rest of us to do the same. Most of us did, and it was a touching and thought-provoking activity.

It was Thanksgiving at its best. Because what we should be most thankful for are not things, but people. By focusing on our loved ones and why they are special, we were drawn closer to the God who gave them to us.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Keeping the Best

Our life has been a flurry of home therapists, nurses, case managers, and the latest...a construction crew. Yes, we're having a "walker-friendly" ramp (with graduated steps) built outside our front door this week. Anything to prevent more falls is being considered. Even a toilet riser has been added to our bathroom decor. Trying to keep a particular old man in his place, which is home.

Arranging and keeping doctor appointments is also on the agenda, in addition to keeping his drugs organized and his blood pressure managed. Encouraging him to start wearing his C-pap again (he refused it during his two-month stay at the rehab center, while his broken ankle was mending). This was even more challenging when it was interrupted by a tooth extraction he had a few days ago, when he had to NOT wear the C-pap for a couple of nights.

Last night I bribed him into wearing the C-pap again by promising him homemade macaroni and cheese for dinner the next day. The promise of food never ceases to get his attention. But I groaned when I saw he could only eat soft foods right after his tooth extraction. I thought, "Yeah, right--try enforcing that one."

I was thankful for his new dentist though. When Dean asked to keep the tooth that was pulled, he at first told him "no", but upon seeing Dean's agitation, he changed it to a "yes", instructing his assistant to please wash it and put it in a plastic bag for him. Hallelujah, he prevented World War III!

Yes, it appears Dean's hoarding tendencies now include teeth. Well, at least he only has seven left, and my guess is they will be added to his "collection" in the not-so-far future. No one can accuse him of losing his teeth. He's saving his own way.

Dean reminds me of my own tendencies to demand and set the parameters of my life, when I should be leaving that up to God, who really knows what's best.

I'm also seeing with greater clarity the things in life that are truly worth saving. We all have a little of that hoarding instinct, but I must learn to let go of anything that isn't worth saving. That would include my doubts, worries, and resentment. But faith, hope, and love, I think I'll keep.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Back on the Merry-go-round

My life the last two days has lost its slow and easy pace that characterized the two months Dean was in rehab, with nurses and therapists tending his broken ankle. Suddenly my world revolves totally once again around this "ol' man" of mine named Dean.

And what a whirlwind we're in for, arranging appointments for home health and doctors, checking into home modifications we need for future fall prevention, overseeing pill distribution (I do believe we carry as much on our shelves as a small pharmacy), and just waiting on him hand and foot (the one that's still healing, that is).

It feels like I've just stepped back on the merry-go-round of life and around and around we go. It was indeed nice to step off that contraption for a short time of sweet respite, but it's not all bad getting back in the swirl of things. I actually thrive on activity, so getting back to our usual abnormal life around here and having Dean's happy, grateful face greet me every time we're in the same room is not all bad.

As soon as I heard when he was coming home, I knew I'd better hurry up and edit my own diary from sixteen years ago when Dean was injured by that tractor, and make sure it's available for Kindles on by Caregiver Month this November. This has been my goal all year!

I made my deadline, so look for "Diary of a New Caregiver: I Can't Do This, Lord" on (see the link in my blog here too). Share it with a caregiver you know this month--only 99 cents, just a quick, inspirational read for anyone, I hope. I pray you are as blessed in reading it as I was in writing it.

Without my years of caregiving, I would never have had the opportunity or desire to sharpen my writing skills. So I give God all the credit for this book. He empowered and inspired me to do it from start to finish!

Just live long enough and you'll know the Lord is with you too, no matter what you are facing in life. He's always in control, if you want Him to be. You CAN do it with Him!