Archive for Caregivers – Page 2

Did Dad’s Dying Kill Mom?

“Dad is going to kill Mom.”

My older sister made that blunt statement on several occasions. I recall, in the way siblings react as the years of a family become decades, that I mostly ignored her. Maybe once or twice I muttered a reply, a weak disagreement. Why argue who’s right or who’s wrong when we were all, each in our own way, struggling to make sense of a senseless experience?

Our father’s slip-slide into dementia had put a huge burden of caregiving onto our mother. Though her situation (slightly) improved when he was placed in a memory care facility, the emotional, spiritual, financial, and physical costs to Mom were relentless.

She took her wedding vow seriously: for better, for worse; in sickness and health.

Was Dad “killing” her? Was she unfairly wearing out because of the commitment to help her sick, aging, stubborn—and yes, beloved—husband?

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When Mom and Dad were younger, they had a plan for the so-called golden years: live in the house they’d lovingly built into a home until both died in their sleep and then be quietly buried in cemetery plots purchased (and paid off) in the mid-1960s.

Except there was a decade’s difference in their ages. That didn’t matter much when they were raising their kids. It did when Dad could count more than eighty candles on his birthday cake. Read More →

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I Don’t Know

I-Dont-KnowOn the weekly list of hospice patients and their myriad illnesses, one disease seemed to stare back at me . . . Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

What was it? I’d never heard or read about this illness.

Later, I scoured the Internet and found this description from the Cleveland Clinic’s website:

The cause of IPF is unknown. In some patients the disease is genetic (you inherited the disease from your parents). Environmental factors (particularly exposure to certain types of dusts) may also play a role. What is known is that IPF changes the lung’s ability to function normally. Typically, mild scarring of the lung tissue occurs first, but over months to years, the normal lung tissue is replaced by more heavily scarred lung tissue, which makes it difficult to breathe and deliver needed oxygen to the body. Read More →

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Hospice On A Bad Hair Day

Even the "rich" can have a bad hair day!

Even the “rich” can have a bad hair day!

I was not there.

What I write next is based on the flimsiest of accounts, of me being in the right place at the right time to “overhear” two doctors tell a story about a patient.

And hey, since I’m talking about two doctors and a patient, you might think this is the build-up to a swell (or dull) joke . . . right?

But it’s not a joke, and the “right place” where I heard this was also the place I’m obligated to be several times a week when my hospice holds its team meetings. I wasn’t eavesdropping on a private conversation between whispering physicians, but was one of many listeners in a room of nurses, chaplains, and social workers. Read More →

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