Friday, September 14

Day One

The first full day of caregiving is over. It's a good thing that I approach each challenge as an adventure. That seems to be the only way I could get through it, as it is more tiring than I ever thought possible. There are rewards, however hard it might be to find them.

Before the stroke, I didn't "do" breakfast or lunch. I didn't clean the pool or provide daily maintenance for it. I never had to go out to the street to collect the daily mail or newspapers. I never had to put out the trash or recycling on Wednesday. If there was a storm, and branches or twigs fell in the yard, I never had to pick them up. When I was preparing to do wedding flowers, I didn't have to clean and fill my flower buckets because mr. kenju did it all, plus make the coffee every morning.

Guess what? Now I do all that, plus three meals and 2 snacks per day, dispense 7 medications in the morning and the evening. I take BP readings, I empty the urinal, and as of today, I bathe, shampoo and dress the patient. In between all that I empty litter boxes, feed and water the kitties, take phone calls, cook the next meal, run my business, do laundry, remind the patient to do his exercises, try to clean a little, grocery shop, answer email and try to find a minute here and there to blog.

I don't mean to complain; really I don't. This is just my way to document all that has to be done. One of my neighbors has an invalid husband she has been caring for for over two years. I simply don't know how she does it all. No one has any idea of how thoroughly exhausting it is (both physically and mentally) until you go through it.

Adding to the stresses of the day, we still have not done our taxes for 2006. We always have an extension until October and that final day is looming. Ordinarily we would have been done by now, but the stroke sort of put a damper on our best intentions. We have to finish that by the end of this month, and I will have to go to the CPA alone this year. No problems there, as we have been clients of his for 30 years and he is tops at what he does.

Do you want to know what helps? People who care; people who call and email or come to see you, people who ask what they can do (and really mean it). People who check your blog posts everyday to see what the news is, and comment so you know they were there and read and cared enough to say so. You keep me going, you really do. Thanks for being there.


deputyswife said...

Wow, it has been a really long time since I have been here. I am so sorry about Mr. Kenju's stroke.

Remember, don't forget to care for yourself. You will need it. Trust me. My mother had a stroke almost four years ago. She is still in a care facility, but is doing well. Considering the type of stroke she had. My father is now in the latter stages of Parkinson's disease. We are now in the process of moving him to my sister's home until he really needs to be in a care facility.

In the past few years, the one thing I have learned is don't forget myself. Sometimes I get too much on my plate. I try to do something for myself before that happens.

Take care of Mr. AND yourself. My prayers are with you both.

Oh, and Michelle sent me!

Marty: said...

I've been keeping up with your new life as a nurse. It sounds overwhelming to me, but I'm sure it will become routine after a while. After a terrible bout of pancreatitus a couple of years ago, my husband came home with a feeding tube through his nose, down to his stomach. He had cans of ensure stacked around the kitchen and I was responsible for all that, and keeping the tubing clean, etc. I was so relieved when everything was finally back to normal after a couple of months. It's not fun, but it's love.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh My Dear Judy...I am exhausted reading about your "day"...or I should say, 'days'....To have to take over ALL the things Mr. Kenju did as well as be the care giver too, well, you must be completely depleted! I wish there was something I could do Judy...truly...The best I can give is some big virtual hugs, my dear...(((((((hugs))))))). And hug yourself, too!

craziequeen said...

It seems ages since I was last here.

I was shocked to read about Mr Kenju's stroke.

I'll keep him and you in my thoughts, my dear Judy.

Now that Mr Kenju is all settled and being looked after, don't forget to make sure you are looked after. So often the care-giver is so dedicated that they forget themselves.

Michele sent me this way today and I am so glad she did - love and luck to you both.

Anonymous said...

Regards to Mr. Kenju, - and you look after yourself.


Grannymar said...

Well done with all the effort and progress.

I nursed my husband for six years he had cancer. Alas my relations were all over 100 miles away, my husband had none, and our only daughter was at school and then University in Scotland.

If someone says "What can I do" GIVE them something to do, it may not be easy to do so, but it will certainly help in the long run. If you say no they might not come back with the offer!

Moogie said...

Bless you Mrs. K. You do not have an easy road ahead of you, that's for sure. It's times like these that I wished I lived closer so that I could help out. My mom is the sole caregiver to my dad. I believe it's such a tough job. Take care of yourself as well. You will need your strength. Know that we here, in the electronic world are pulling for Mr. Kenju, as well as yourself. We will add Mr. K to our special prayer list, and ask that you be given extra strength to do what has to be done.

Nancy said...


Grannymar is right! Do not turn down any offers of help.Accept help and in awhile you might be helping them back.It won't always be the way it is now.

Things will ease up soon, you'll see. It's hard at first when you do have to take on all the tasks that your husband used to do but pretty soon he will gradually take over some of the things he did before. Even if it's just putting the coffee on,it's a start.

You know my husband had his right leg amputated and I thought I would have to do everything from then on, like the trash etc. I did have to do all his chores and mine,too, but pretty soon he began to help again and Mr K will,too!

It will never be the same, Judy so concentrate on the things that make you laugh. Keep your sense of humor going strong. It's a big help....

We were out to dinner the other night and the waitress all of a sudden began apologising to Roy."I'm so sorry, sir. Please excuse me." We looked at her and asked why she was apologising. She was STANDING on his artificial foot. We both laughed and Roy tapped on his wooden leg and she thought that was so funny. We all had a good laugh. It takes a while to get to this point but you and Mr. K will get there, Judy. Take my word for it.

sage said...

Sounds like you do have a lot to be doing. Hang in their Kenju and be sure to take care of yourself as you take care of Mr. Kenju.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for keeping all of us updated with this "blog"! Chris and I want to come visit this week with you two at most convenient time. We will reach out to you and schedule best time to stop by.
You are in our thoughts and prayers.

AC said...

What I learned while caring for my mother is that when people ask if they can help MOST of them mean it. Giving someone even a teeny task made them happy! I know when I ask if I can help, I feel good about doing a task. Its a double edgd happiness.

I wish I were closer, cause I'd really like to help with the flowers. I cut and made country -type bouquets for my farm market stand and can wash a bucket and get the water ready in a jif! Hang in there - thinking of you both

Peter said...

Glad to hear that Mr. Kenju is home and that you are coping with your duties Judy.

No_Newz said...

You have had your plate full, no doubt. If there is anything I can do, never hesitate to drop a line. Sending hugs your way.

Farrago said...

I know the exhaustion of which you speak. Mrs. Farrago's dad, a Parkinson's patient, lived with us for 4 years. Taking care of him was a full time job, and he could still walk and drive!

He moved out to a senior living facility where there are nurses and aides all around him, skilled at taking care of his toughest needs, and paid to do it.

His time with us took its toll on our marriage, unfortunately... more on that later.

PI said...

That is a perfect documentation of what happens when one's better half is under the weather and a salutary reminder to us all that we have to be prepared to shoulder the load. My admiration for you Judy knows no bounds and I just hope I can do the same when tne time comes. The physical stuff - whilst exhausting - is to me, less worrying than the mental stuff like tax, insurance etc when I can feel my eyes glazing over in an effort to understand.
I wish I could do something more positive than just wittering on but I'm sending warmest good wishes and hugs nevertheless.

craziequeen said...

Hey Judy, Michele sent me back to see how your Saturday was :-))

Hope you're getting some help with the mountain of chores....


joan said...

It appears it is now day two, and I am praying that every day you are given greater measures of strength, patience, and grace.

May Mr. K. return to good health, and may you be blessed for all the good you do.

I'm glad you stopped by and said hello!

Sonia said...

Oh dear Judy, what a full day you have been had. But it's temporary.
Very soon Mr. Kenju will be Ok to help you!

Have a nice weekend!

Claude said...

It's been a few days since I came by. I was away for a short stay with a friend. I am flabbergasted by all those things you have to do besides what you used to do.
One thing I really want to tell you, besides empathizing is that you have to remember that you MUST take care of yourself too and managed to get some rest.
I've never had to take care of someone the way you do with your husband, but I've seen my mother do it and remember how exhausted she was and how she pretended she was OK. Don't forget your necessary and indispensible rest.

Kristi said...

Wow, Judy, you have so much on your plate. Mr. Kenju is truly blessed to have such a wonderful caregiver, and it can only get easier from here, right? Just remember to ask for help if you need it. There is absolutely no shame in that!

Elle said...

Judy, this is the perfect documentation of your days. There will be a time down the road when you read back over these posts and comments and realize how strong both you and Mr. Kenju are, and you'll celebrate how far you've both come. In the meantime, I agree with everyone else who has posted this - take time to take care of yourself, too!