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A Caregiver's Journey

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By George, I Think He's Got It

All I want is a room somewhere, Far away from the cold night air… Lots of chocolate for me to eat, Lots of coal makin' lots of heat… Warm face, warm hands, warm feet…Oh, wouldn't it be loverly? Loverly, loverly, loverly, loverly…   Her day had been quiet allowing her much time to do a bit of baking and wrap a few gifts during the week of Christmas.  She really hadn’t got him anything aside from a lamp that projected the solar system on the ceiling to add to his light collection,

Strokewife

Strokewife

Lilacs

The Syringa Vulgaris plant interestingly is a flowering shrub of the olive family. It is native to the Balkan Peninsula. This decadent ornamental bush is widely grown in many European regions as well as North America. In ancient Greek mythology the story is told that Pan, the god of forests and fields was hopelessly in love with a nymph named Syringa.  Legend is she being afraid of his advances disguised herself by turning into the aromatic shrub.  He never found her yet he found the bush. Notin

Strokewife

Strokewife

Time To Make The Donuts

An alarm clock rings in the wee hours of the morning before sunrise has made an appearance.  Fred the Baker rolls over and sluggishly stops the loud continual sound.  With his eyes forcedly wide open he swings his legs out from under the covers and sluggishly shuffles to the bathroom where he changes into his work attire. Still moving in slow motion out the door he goes only to reappear at a bakery.  All during this maneuvering to work Fred repeatedly says, “Time to make the donuts,” up until cu

Strokewife

Strokewife

Red Rover

Red Rover, Red Rover Send A Caregiver On Over…   The game Red Rover was a game I played during my childhood.  Often I, along with the neighborhood kids would get together and play this simple game around the summer holiday time. It did not require equipment.  The only objective was to call one individual to run over and attempt to break the barrier formed by the group of young individuals interlocking their hands.  If that individual did not break the barrier then that single individua

Strokewife

Strokewife

Silent Movie

A young woman is lying unresponsive upon a frozen platelet of ice that is drifting rapidly toward a waterfall.  As the river current rushes a bit faster with each and every second a man fleetingly skips across broken ice pieces to rescue this damsel in distress. With his heroic effort he saves the maiden just in the knick of time as ice sheets plummet over the cascading water. Of course, this man and woman then go on to live happily ever after…   Some how, Way Down East, with out sound

Strokewife

Strokewife

Memory

Memory- All alone in the moonlight…I can smile happy your days (I can dream of the old days)…Life was beautiful then…I remember the time I knew what happiness was…Let the memory live again…   While I found myself sluggishly gazing at a moonbeam shining itself through the window late one night not so long ago I softly sang a few bars from the song Memory.  This song is from the 1981 Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats. Grizabella, a character in Cats sings the song.  She is a very old, d

Strokewife

Strokewife

Respite What?

Recently, as I assisted my stroke survivor with taking his nightly medications, helping him maneuver into bed, and removing his shoes I mentally ran down the check list of all necessary things he requested on his bed side table.  Simultaneously, I sighed.  I consciously was aware of the throbbing pain in between my shoulder blades and lower back causing me to move a bit slower than normal.  I felt tired, weepy, and angry all in one.  Certainly, I did not mention my frustration to my stroke survi

Strokewife

Strokewife

Limited Resources

The second anniversary of my husband’s first stroke and the day I became a caregiver recently transpired.  Upon this anniversary day my stroke survivor began aquatic therapy.  This is something he wanted to do for sometime but being wrapped up in a medical system that dictates the where, when, and why we had to wait.  Thus, good things do come to those that wait.   My husband’s ability to do things on his own is still very limited.  I, at this two-year mark, still assist my husband with mos

Strokewife

Strokewife

Ten Thousand Angels

It was a moment in early fall when my husband, like he always did on his day off from work, went outside to cut the grass.  As he stepped out onto the back patio he heard the sound of humming. Perhaps it could be described as a gentle whispering of the wind like that through a whistle or more specifically a tone from a tuning fork. Regardless, my husband looked up into the sky thinking there might be some sort of spaceship overhead causing the hypnotic sound he was hearing.  But, instead, he wit

Strokewife

Strokewife

Too many hats on my hat rack

In the house that I live just of center of the front door there stands a hat rack.  It sits there for the simple task of holding hats. There are many head coverings that adorn this rack. Each hat is unique yet some can be considered extraordinary.   It is this bonnet holder that sits in the shadows that helps this caregiver share her thoughts. As long as I can remember my husband has collected hats.  Each time we traveled, attended a concert, or went to an estate sale we often would come ho

Strokewife

Strokewife

The Tortoise and The Hare

One day a hare was bragging about how fast he could run. He bragged and bragged and even laughed at the tortoise; who was so slow. The tortoise stretched out his long neck and challenged the hare to a race, which, of course, made the hare laugh.   "My, my, what a joke!" thought the hare. "A race, indeed, a race. Oh! What fun! My, my! a race, of course, Mr. Tortoise, we shall race!" said the hare.   The forest animals met and mapped out the course. The race begun, and the hare, being such a

Strokewife

Strokewife

That's Amore: A Christmas Greeting

“When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie that’s amore…”   They wrapped themselves in light jackets, she also slipped on Uggs to warm her feet, and he nestled a blanket around his legs after settling into his wheelchair. With great exhilaration they made their way to the local restaurant just a few blocks away from home. The attraction was that it had a wrap around patio that overlooked a small lake. Mostly, ducks, turtles, and cattails thrived with in the aquifer but the serenity t

Strokewife

Strokewife

Sunset

The evening started off just like any other evening. But on this particular night the sky painted itself with an array of pink, salmon, lilac, gold, orange, and vanilla. We sat and ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips, and a fruit cup all while we admired the continual changing colors of the sky. While we sat next to one another both of us were speechless. We just looked and awed at the masterpiece that was laid before us. Simply it took our breath away.   It has been a while since I

Strokewife

Strokewife

Second time around

The silence of the night surrounds me. While it should be peaceful everything with in it is screaming out in more of a painful cry. Even still I am somber. Tears do not seem to form or fall from my face. I sit and watch my husband take each breath. The room is dark with the exception of the neon glowing lights of the heart monitor. I watch him as his chest rises and falls. I hold his hand and caress it ever so gently. He is calm, peaceful and serene. Aside from the wires that are connecte

Strokewife

Strokewife

Flight of the Swallows

High under the arch of the front entry there is a bird nest mounted. It is a mass of mud, grass and sticks. That nest has existed there for 15 years. It is the home of swallows.   Our house was built fifteen years ago just off set from a golf course. There wasn’t much surrounding the area. No major thorough fair, minimal housing, and lots of vegetation. It seemed like a home in the country all while still in the city. That was the draw to the area. Still today there are a minimal amount

Strokewife

Strokewife

Humor from a cup

I have always felt that in every situation of my life there are moments that when I look back on certain times I will find the humor in a particular event somewhere. I believe this to be true with the most horrific of scenarios. It always seems to be the situations that are the most burdensome that wind up being, for me, the most note worthy later on. They are the moments that I time and time again journal about and reflect on later. One such example is the night my family all gathered to be

Strokewife

Strokewife

Love to Laugh

When moving forward in to each day as a caregiver to a stroke survivor there are moments that are simply excruciating. It can be the late night awakening to assist him to the bathroom when I have had little to no sleep, a strong arm hold when he is leaning toward a potential fall, or remaining calm during his uncontrolled emotional outburst due to stroke. There are moments when I feel like the rug has been pulled out from under me and I don’t have the energy to get up. As a caregiver to my hu

Strokewife

Strokewife

Care Giving turned Care Living

Caregiving turned Careliving   In the beginning, when my husband was laying in a hospital bed not showing signs of coherency I would sit holding his hand and talk to him as if nothing was out of the ordinary. It didn’t matter if he heard me or not I just believed the sound of my voice comforted him. There were many days in the beginning when he would be talking a lot of scattered things. It seemed he was dreaming, hallucinating or telling stories that only made sense to him. I contributed

Strokewife

Strokewife

It's Possible

“Once upon a time there lived a girl and her name was Cinderella…”   As a young girl I excitedly awaited the moment when this fairy tale would broadcast on television each year. It is a Rodgers & Hammerstein musical production first aired in 1965. The cast includes Lesley Ann Warren, Celeste Holm, Ginger Rodgers, Stuart Damon, and more. Some how this story enthralled me to the point I started a collection. Over the years I have acquired the story of Cinderella in various movie forms.

Strokewife

Strokewife

Trash Day

“Zooom, zoom, squeal, crash, bang, boom…woof, woof, arf, arf…vroom, vroom, squeeeeal, zoom…” The clock reads 7:39am as I once again pull the pillow over my head. I pray to God for the madness to please stop while shouting at my dog to stop the barking. Every Wednesday morning I have what I call, “The fricken trash man hatred.” It is every Wednesday morning at a, much too early for me to process, time of day that I realize there are these small things in life which are more important than I eve

Strokewife

Strokewife

Broken Angels

When I was a young girl I had the weekly task of dusting bookcases, end tables, and other furniture odds and ends. Every Saturday morning my siblings and I would do our assigned chores before we were allowed to go off to our free time activity. I was the youngest of five kids so I somehow seemed to luck out and always get the minimal side of chore assignments. Given that I was a very small girl it seems logical to me why I was assigned the things I was assigned. My siblings didn’t necessarily ag

Strokewife

Strokewife

A check list please

About day three following my husband’s admittance into the Intensive Care Unit I was beyond exhausted. I hadn’t slept, eaten, or really come to terms with what had happened. Ideally, I expected him to just wake up, ask for something to eat and say, “Let’s go home.” My husband had every monitor possible attached to him. Not to mention the revolving door of technicians, nurses, therapist, and doctors coming into his room nonstop. With every person that entered the room I ask question after que

Strokewife

Strokewife

Just a Number

“Just go in the Emergency Room entrance madam and they will take care of you,” were the words calmly spoken to me by the paramedics. They would go to a designated entrance with that special cargo known as my husband. I was to go to the Public entrance. Of course, I followed the ambulance closely while simultaneously biting my nails and praying that everything would be O.K. Pulling into the first parking spot I saw I hurriedly parked and scurried through the doors only to be directed to have a se

Strokewife

Strokewife

Leap Year

This year is Leap Year. Which means we have an extra day added onto our calendar. This has always made me ask, “Why it is called year if it is just a day?” “Why not just call it Leap Day?” Anyway, with that awareness the thought jumps around in my head, “What would I do with an extra day?”   As a caregiver, time for myself is something I get little of and I crave. It isn’t that I do not take time for myself but more that time has to be strategically planned. Oh the thought of going and p

Strokewife

Strokewife

A Caregiver's Vision

For some time I have been mulling over the idea of starting a blog…Way back when, I thought about a blog for Massage Therapy to incorporate the insights of alternative therapy. I even went as far as setting it up…I think there are one or two stories on that blog. Time slid by and I never blogged more than those few notes. Certainly, I don’t discredit it because it is still a good idea but in the past summer I was thrust into an experience that I never planned on…That’s when I became a stroke vic

Strokewife

Strokewife