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Stroke Caregiver - female
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About jriva

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    Senior Mentor

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  • Stroke Anniversary (first stroke)
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  1. jriva

    Just saying 'Hi' and I like heathber's idea (above) about planning recovery days at the same time you plan a vacation.
  2. jriva

    Happy Anniversary jriva!

  3. jriva

    Happy Anniversary jriva!

  4. Just saw you have left a message on Lin's blog, nice to see you back on again.

  5. jriva

    Best of luck to you, Asha. I agree with Gary: there a lots of things in the community to get involved in and arriving at that point in your recovery where you can start making time for those things is a healthy and good sign. So don't forget, there's all kinds of blog communities out there in the world beyond Strokenet if you start missing writing too much.
  6. jriva

    Wow, what a weird thing to have happen! I agree with Ethyl---you'll probably get the VIP treatment and never see a bill from the hospital.
  7. jriva

    Wayward Husband

    I can't believe it's been almost 10 years since Don's stroke. It happened in May of 2000 and we're already gearing up to have another 'Thank God I'm Alive' party like we did on his 5th anniversary out. Wall washing is in progress. The guest list is on Don's mind and yesterday we made a trip to a party store specializing in bulk food to scope out prices. We'll invite about 60 people. After the store, we went to a local bookstore where my wheelchair bound, aphasic husband was so being so silly I was afraid he'd get us kicked out. If you want to read about the bookstore trip check out my blog entry at: Wayward Husband
  8. jriva

    . Doesn't love naturally breed 'duty'? According to my dictionary duty is: "An action required by one's occupation or position, a moral or legal obligation." As a daughter to my dad I shared his care with my brother for five years both out of a profound sense of love AND a strong set of values that says that family helps one another in their time of need. i.e. you care for children when they are young; they care for you when you are old. Call it duty if you want but if you love someone there really is no choice, you do what needs to be done and accept your luck of the draw. Maybe the concept of 'duty' is differs with different nationalities? All I know is this is the example that was set for me growing up by my parents, aunts and uncles and without exception, all my cousins stepped up to the plate when it was their turn to care for a sick parent or spouse. With my husband, I've been his caregiver for over 9 years now and him being wheelchair bound and with severe language disorders, it's a 24/7 job and I've never had even one hour of outside help. (Except for the week I had my knee replaced and we had a friend care for both of us.) We've known each other since 1970 and have been through tons of life events together---both good and bad. From my way of thinking how is a stroke any different? We've gone through life meeting challenges, defeats and triumphs together. Why stop now? After all, life and loving someone comes with no guarantee that it will always be easy. I don't think of caregiving as a 'burden' or 'sacrifice' because it's just the luck of the draw that my husband is in the wheelchair and not me. This is our lives now and we do our best to make the best of it. As for Sue's original question on how long I will continue being Don's hands-on caregiver, the answer is for as long as I'm able. But each of us has a different breaking point where we can't mentally and/or physically do the job anymore. The key is to know where that breaking point is without throwing in the towel too early or too late. Of course, just because a long-term caregiver turns over the job to a managed care facility doesn't mean that caregiver is then care-free. It doesn't work like that; it just becomes a different kind of duty born out of love that keeps you overseeing their institutional care. My brother's wife just died after being in a lock down nursing home for violent Alzheimer's patients. He spent three years going there every day to make sure she ate. I didn't consider his caregiver role any easier than mine just because his spouse was institutionalized and mine wasn't/isn't. In fact, his emotional turmoil was 10 times worse than any I've experienced in the past 6-7 years. The bottom line for me is that I can't separate duty from love. If I didn't love someone I wouldn't feel duty bound to care for them. And I don't consider 'duty' a dirty word in caregiver circles. I do, however, feel sorry for those caregivers who have forgotten the love that once past between themselves and their care recipients. That's sad. There is a dialogue in a movie where someone asks a guy why he still goes daily to a nursing home when his wife no longer remembers him. The guy answers, "Because I still remember her." We should all be so lucky as to have someone who remembers what we once were when we can no longer be that person. Jean
  9. . I'm just returning from a two week pity party. You know the kind where you don't think you can handle one more metaphorical---or real, for that matter---hangnail. Giving myself a sharp "get over yourself, everyone has problems" usually keeps pity parties off my property---I'm generally an upbeat kind of person---but not this time. This time, four out-of-place vertebrae were playing sadistic games with the nerves running down my leg and they threw open the front door inviting the pity party pack to camp out in the living room. Woo is me! The cry fest started and the tears were only interrupted with occasional outbursts of succulent statements like.... Click here to read the rest. .
  10. jriva

    Hi Butch, I am somewhat surprised to read your blog. Of all the male caregiver/spouses to come through this site, you were one of the few I thought would make it. But statistically and sadly you're right on track for marriages that fail after a stroke. I don't think the guilt of 'cutting and running' will ever leave you---it human nature when you've loved someone in another lifetime. So with that in mind, you might want to explore the idea of still doing something to remain in Lisa's life in a limited way---maybe be someone who can be counted on a couple times a month to give relief to whoever takes over the caregiver role. Or if she goes into a nursing home, still visit a couple times a month. All I'm saying is it doesn't have to be an all or nothing situation, especially if Lisa and her parents find some compassion in their hearts for you....and I think they very well may be able to do that as the shock of your leaving passes. Then again it might not be a shock at all for them. I'm sure they know you well enough to see the strain and toll this has taken on you. Whatever happens, You still have my respect and best wishes. Putting your life back together won't be easy but time does truly heal a multitude of heartache and pain. Jean
  11. jriva

    Are you Reliant?

    If you want to feel old really fast get a new digital camera. At least the one I just got is making me feel that way. It came with not one but TWO user guides and some of the pages have such small print that I have to use a magnifying glass just to read them. Worse than that, the camera has a mode dial with tiny icons on it and without my handy-dandy magnifying glass I'd never know those little suckers are suppose to represent things like: portraits, night shots, indoors, landscapes, movies and a bunch of letters I've yet to decipher. It even has an icon for aquariums. Aquariums! Who needs that? What I want to see is an icon for starting my coffeemaker in the mornings. To read the rest of blog this entry click here. Since my last update here at Strokenet, Levi had his first birthday and he's blogged about all his first year accomplishments and goals for the future. Click here to see how much he's grown. Even angel Cooper came back for a visit. link here. Things stroke-wise and caregiver-wise have not changed much since my last update. Don is still being Don, the wheelchair bound stroke survivor with the vocabulary of a one year old. And I'm still being Jean, the woman of the house who would rather play on the computer than do housework. We still get out every other day to run errands and go to Don's favorite restaurant. It's a little mama/papa place where the waitresses don't mind how many times he tells them they are 'cute' or how many times he wants a hug. Yes, impulse control is still a challenge in his catalog of stroke deficits. LOL All in all, we're in a good place. Don's stroke is a part of our lives but it's not our lives i.e. we're not living the stroke day in and day out. Those of you who have found acceptance and moved on will understand exactly what I mean. Jean .
  12. jriva

    Wow, that's great news, Gary. He's come a long way. Jean
  13. jriva

    Back but Probably Forgotten

    It must be old home week around here. It looks like I'm not the only long-lost member catching up their blog. We've had a busy fall since I last updated my blog over at Bloggers. My newest entry is about our woos in spending eleven months dealing with Medicare over Don's wheelchair replacement and about us potentially becoming one of the latest victims of the Wall Street crisis. Read "Old and Obsolete" here. For pet lovers, our dogs have been prolific in sharing their unique views in their blog of living in a post-stroke world with Don and me. Levi has been a joy with his spirit, energy and kisses that are given in a way only a puppy with a long, wet schnauzer beard could do. I swear he washes his beard off in his water dish then comes directly from the bowl for smooching time. To read Levi, click here. My favor story of Cooper's can be found at: Devil Cats. For some very funny dog photos Levi shares his favors here. I think of this place from time to time but don't read here much anymore. I can't say why it doesn't hold my interest anymore but it doesn't really matter because we're doing fine in the "real world" now and that feels good. Wishing you all a great Thanksgiving week and hope you all find what you need to be happy and healthy. Jean
  14. jriva

    Janine, Have you discussed with Larry's primary doctor having a visiting nurse come to the house to change his catheter at regular intervals? Does the college where Larry taught have a speech pathology department that works with people/clients in the community? Maybe he'd be more open to doing speech therapy in an academic setting? The colleges with speech programs often have senior students who will make house visits to help with speech therapy for low-cost private pay in the summer months. You'd have to get recommendations from the head of the department. You'd also need to get Larry on a waiting list now for fall classes, if he does sound more open to doing therapy this way. Jean
  15. jriva

    Mid-Summer Update

    We went out for pizza with old friends last night which was both a happy and sad time. Happy because it's always great to see old friends but sad because it accentuated yet another growing post stroke problem..... Click here to read the rest of this blog entry. I haven't been blogging much for myself but the dogs have been really active, even won several bloggers' awards in the process. You can read up on their adventures here. I recently got a job offer writing articles that evolved out of that article I wrote last month for the contest with a $5,000 prize. I didn't win but someone happened to see my entry, liked my writing style and contacted me. The money offered isn't bad but I haven't decided, yet, if I want to get involved writing on a someone else's schedule. Until next time.... Jean
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