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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 260 - Caregiving And In-Laws

We're linked with Messy Marriages From Messes To Messages - please visit Beth's site for some really valuable marriage resources!

If you're caregiving for a terminally ill husband or wife, you may one day run into a problem, and it's spelled I-N-L-A-W-S.

No caregiver is perfect, and if your spouse's family is a regular part of your lives, they're likely to notice where they think they could do better...and often, you will be told.

"You know, he never really did like his food fixed that way..."

"You should spend more time just being with her. She looks so lonely!"

"Didn't you notice how much worse he looks>"

"I saw you at church by yourself last Sunday. Isn't it your place to be home on Sunday morning if you both can't go?"

And perhaps the worst...

"I know you mean well, but..."

It can be awfully frustrating, and worse, it can undermine the confidence you've built up in the job you're doing.

Left to fester, this sort of attack...and it is an attack - can leave you, after the inevitable eath, feeling as though you've failed as a caregiver, and as a spouse.

Also, if the critical in-laws are given free rein, they can affect your mate's attitude, and you'll find yourself very much outnumbered.

What to do? You can't very well limit visits - they're family, after all. But there are some steps you can take:

  • Don't engage with critical family in front of the patient - conflict is the last thing your sick husband or wife needs to see. Move the conversation into another room, at least, or preferably make a date to talk about it off the premises if they won't let it go.
  • Keep a record of professional advice - ask the professional care team to give you written instructions pertaining to diet and care, and don't be shy to show them to a critic.
  • Don't complain to the patient - saying "Your family's driving me nuts!" may feel satisfying, but it puts the patient into an awkward position.
  • Be involved with a support group - believe me, you aren't facing this issue alone!
  • Seek counseling - it won't change the relatives, but counseling can make it easier for you to understand, and a good counselor can help you find strategies to cope - and, if necessary, to fight back.
  • Draw a line - YOU are the caregiving spouse, and the choices are your responsibility. This may cause hurt feelings, but sometimes this can't be avoided - and they started it.
What other strategies can you suggest? Do you have a caregiving experience to hare?


I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.


Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.








Sunday, January 15, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 259 - Another NDE, And I Am Tired Of Them!

This will be a short post, as I'm still a bit shaky after needing canine CPR last night when I stopped breathing.

It's definitely not a 'drifting off' experience; I can feel the last breath exhale, and then there's no intake of air. It just doesn't come, and vision starts getting tunneled and grey-spotted.

Fortunately the Service ogs, ladron and Sylvia, literally sleep next to my head...only they don't sleep. They are awake all night, watching.

And so, they sprang into action, slamming down - hard - on my chest. Usually they bark; last night they were silent, perhaps because they were too intent on their work.

I've read that mother dogs will do the same, rather more gently, if a pup stops breathing.

And so I came back, with a gasp and a pull-and-push from the girls to get me upright. It was 1:40 in the morning, and you can bet I wasn't about to try to get back to sleep.

It's an exhausting experience, and perhaps the worst part, for me, is a sense of emotional fragility. It leaves me on the edge of tears for hours.

I don't think that's caused by a fear of death; I'm tempted to say it's the sheer unpleasantness of the process of dying.

But that probably misses the point. I think the tears come from a sense of how much this life still matters. Not because of the cool things I can still do, because I can't do them any more.

And not because of the possibility of a future lost, because there's not a whole lot of future. The books that are unfinished will likely remain unfinished; those that are done will likely not see the light of day.

All of the good things I imagined ahead of me are vanishing. And so what?

No, I think that this life matters because it's supposed to matter. We're here for a purpose, and Creation exists not for itself but for us.

We're meant to interact, if only in doing the best we can do, even when no one cares what we do.

God cares.

And when we weep with a sense of what e might lose, I think He weeps with us.

The musical theme today is John Denver's Looking For Space. I hope you enjoy it!


I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.


Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.








Thursday, January 12, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 258 - Why I Believe {FMF}

Back again with Five Minute Friday, the keyword-driven timed writing challenge hosted by Kate Motaung. Please visit for some really wonderful writing!

Once again, illness forces me to write this ahead of time, and I ask your pardon. I will try to edit in the week's word when it's revealed.

(It's MIDDLE.)

And so...

Nights are getting hard. There's no remotely comfortable position,and I'm awake a lot. The alternative is an eerie doze filled with vivid nightmares. Yee-ha.

I'll admit it can be scary...and years ago, when I wondered how I would cope with facing death-by-illness, my biggest fear was facing the fear of death.

But the thing is, I'm not afraid of dying, because I believe in God. And yet...I've never had the 'personal relationship with God'. I with I did, but one has to do with that which one has. Kind of a middle path between experience and blind hope.

And what I have, like any good Vulcan, is logic. (If you'd like to visit my post on How To be A Vulcan, I'd be honoured.)

Doesn't sound very comforting, eh? But really, it is. When the black times come at three in the morning, when is this all there is? comes creeping into my mind, here is that to which my faith is pinned:
  • Evidence of a Creator is found in the staggering odds against the 'natural' formation of even the simplest form of life. Given that there are about two thousand enzymes which form life's 'building blocks', the chances of obtaining all of them in a random trial is 1 in 10 to the 40,000th power, according to Fred Hoyle and N. Chandra Wickramasinghe. That's 40,000 zeros. God is the only remotely reasonable option.
  • Archaeology has proven much of what is found in the New Testament, and is giving increasing support to the veracity of the Old Testament. Sites are as described, and individuals are increasingly shown to have lived when and where the Bible said they did.
  • Jesus' ministry is corroborated by outside sources, such as Flavius Josephus.
  • As C.S. Lewis so famously pointed out, Jesus' claim of divinity meant that He was either mad, or telling the truth, and there is no evidence of madness in anything He was recorded as saying. He speaks with an authoritative and shrewd voice, with occasional touches of sly humour. 
  • His followers are likewise not described as those who would follow a lunatic, given that their discipleship put them on a collision course with the possibility of a singularly unpleasant death, as they would have been considered blasphemers by the religious authorities.
  • Jesus' death and resurrection can be assumed to be true by the behaviour of the Apostles. If Jesus had died and not risen, there would have been no reason to continue following Him unto death. Preaching what one knows to be a lie, knowing that one's own ending would be bad, is madness, and as mentioned the Apostles were clearly not crazy.
  • Paul's behaviour supports this. His travels and writings show him to be nothing if not rational, and one has to believe his experience on the road to Damascus. It had to be real; an hallucination would have left any sane man doubting the experience, however vivid it was, and that would have shown up in his letters.
There's more, but my time is up.

The only rational conclusion I can draw is that there is a God, and He lived as a man two thousand years ago. He came to earth for the reason He stated - to save our souls - and died so that we could live.

Not believing would simply be...wait for it...illogical.

The musical theme is from the film 13 Hours...



I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.


Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.






Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 257 - The Overwhelmed Caregiver

We're linked with Messy Marriage's From Messes To Messages please visit Beth's site for some great marriage resources!

Being a caregiver can eat you up, and that's no joke. Being overwhelmed is an occupational hazard.

There are just so many things you have to balance, in action and planning...and you may have to be the Chief Morale Officer as well, when your husband or wife is going through a bad patch.

And you've got to do it all well, because another person is completely dependent upon you.

It's not surprising that many caregivers 'break down', and become either emotionally shattered or numb. You can only go so far, so fast, for so long.

And there is always the knowledge that you have to do it again tomorrow, and the day after that.

An endless succession of obligation leading to an ending that you know is going to be hard.

How to cope? Is there a way to cope?

Well, yes, at least to a degree.

  • First and foremost, understand that being overwhelmed is normal, and don't beat yourself up for it. Even Jesus was overwhelmed by crowds, and crossed the Sea of Galilee to get away from them.
  • Maintain friendships, if possible, with people in whom you can confide when the going gets frustrating. This may seem hard, with the demands on your time, but you will - I hope - find that the friends you have will be more than understanding and will meet you more than halfway.
  • Join a caregiver support group at your church, if such exists. It's good to know you're not alone.
  • Try to arrange for reliable respite care, to give you an occasional day off. Your spouse may raise a fuss ("Hey, I'm going to be dead in a few months and you're going bowling?") but stand firm. You have to take care of yourself, and hat means occasionally getting out of the caregiving environment for something other than work, church, and shopping.
  • Keep a journal for your eyes only. Perhaps better, keep a prayer journal, in which you can pour out your heart to the Almighty on how hard and unfair all of this is...because it is both hard and unfair.
  • Carve out a physical niche for yourself to which you can retreat for a few minutes...kind of like a kid's fort made of blankets and cushions. Use it to journal, read, or just have a cup of coffee. Or a beer. If you have an overstocked garage or 'box room', consider rearranging some of the boxes to give yourself a seat...and a kind of privacy wall.
  • If you have a meltdown in front of the patient...and at some point you will...don't try to deny it or cover it up. Apologise and move on. (But don't use it as a kind of justification for "See, I really need to get some time away!" That can come across as opportunism, or a setup...even though it's quite true.)
What would you add? How would you suggest a caregiver cope with the feeling of being overwhelmed?


I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.


Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.







Sunday, January 8, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 256 - Don't Hate The Pain

Pain hurts.

The "no pain, no gain" idiocy aside, it's at best a warning that you've pushed...or have been pushed...too far.

At worst it's simply an ordeal, a beating you have to endure until it stops.

Pain like that is an enemy. Right? Make it go away.

Well, not so fast.

What most doctors practice now is pain control, and not pain removal, and for good reason.

Pain's a natural part of the body's reaction to stress and injury. It's both a warning sign and a speed bump, which together tell you to be careful, and slow down.

In years past many a baseball pitcher with a sore arm took steroid injections to finish a season...and in so doing made unhealed damage worse, and lost his career.

For the terminally ill it is a bit different. I mean, it's kind of the last season anyway, so why not throw enough meds at the problem, and make it go away?

There are a couple of reasons, actually.

First, quality of life...yours and the patients. Powerful painkillers, taken in large dosages, start to change the personality, and I have been through this. I knew what was happening, and I knew I wasn't me.

Second, and also tied into quality of life, the side effects can be pretty unpleasant. Sleepiness is basic (and can even be welcome), but constipation is most certainly not welcome. The constipation narcotics can cause is the kind that leads to having to try to clear an impacted rectum on the spot, so to speak - a painful process with no little risk of infection, if the rectal wall is damaged. How do I know? Been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and I don't wear it).

Third, overdose is always a danger, as the stuff builds up in the system. OD-ing on the stuff is scary; it's nor just 'going to sleep'.

There's another reason not to totally kill off the pain, and it goes beyond the practical.

Pain can reveal the better part of ourselves.

I have found that when I'm hurting bad, I don't want anyone else to experience what I am going through. Not even the people I learned to loathe on a personal basis. I might hate them, but I would spare them this.

Pain, you see, can be the doorway to compassion.

And compassion can be the doorway to Salvation.

I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.


Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.








Thursday, January 5, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 255 - Why Not Give Up? {FMF}

We're back with Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday group, for the
first FMF linkup of 2017. Join us, won't you...and write! It's fun.

I'm having to write ahead of time, and I ask your pardon in advance,
both for not knowing the keyword on writing and for any awkwardness in my words. I was badly concussed a few days ago, and I am having a bit of trouble transferring what's in my head to the keyboard. If I can, I will reference the keyword when it's revealed.


(The word this week is CONNECT, and I worked it in. Barely.)

So, to begin...

Why not just give up? It's a question I hear frequently.

I used to think that the question excluded give up and die, but it doesn't. 
It's a well-meant suggestion. Those who have offered it know how hard even the simplest tasks have become, and it's painful for them to see me try to reach beyond those to keep my dreams alive in whatever way I can.

They see no chance of fulfillment...and would resting, at the very least, not be better?

I have to admit that it's tempting. The chances that I'll finish another novel, excepting a miracle, are small, and the chance that I'll ever be well enough to fly again makes working upon aeroplanes - the very few minutes a week I am well enough to - a bit silly.

Except for this - Our actions on Earth echo in Eternity.

I believe in transcendence, that the boundaries between our world and 
God's...well, everything is porous.

We're here for a reason, and that reason doesn't end with our death. What we do here is precisely what will make us fit companions of the Almighty in Heaven.

So, no...one doesn't give up. It's not a matter of defiance or delusion. It's just the simple truth that what moves our hearts and our ambitions, if they're right and decent, is important not only to
us, but to God
.

Our dreams are not 'ours'; they are His, loaned to us with care and love for the duration.


And God likes to share, so our dreams also belong to the world. So does the example of faith and steadfastness we set while pursuing them.

Even when success is impossible, and when no one is watching. You're still connected to God.

Not giving up...it's our job.



And now over to Roger Hodgson and Supertramp...




I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.


Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.







Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 254 - Caregiver Envy

Envy...the yellow-eyed green scaly monster that waits in the shadows.

Or is it?

The Tenth Commandment says that we're not supposed to covet, which is wanting what our neighbour has, and actively scheming to get it.

But what about just wanting what our neighbour has, without plans or ulterior motives?

That's the position in which a lot of caregivers find themselves.

Dealing with adult diapers and memory loss and a sprung back from helping your spouse into the shower, you see your neighbour heading off for a week in Cozumel...and you think, why them and not me?

Caregiving can feel really unfair.

The pat answer is, of course, that you don't know the trails of others, that everything is somehow cosmically equivalent. You're a caregiver, and the couple you envy is dealing with a disintergrating marriage, or kids that are lurching out of control.

Hogwash.

You can see that these folks are doing pretty well. And you're not.

And your envy is OK.

You see, what you're doing is not wishing your misfortune upon someone else, in a bizarre kind of 'trade'. You're wishing that the life you envisaged all those years ago, when you took the vows, was still intact.

You are wishing that the potential for shared adventure and joy was still there.

You're yearning  for all that's been lost.

Caregiver Envy is a grieving process.

And it's right and proper to grieve.

I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.


Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.