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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Your Dying Spouse 242 - When People Say The Wrong Thing

We're linked with Messy Marriage's From Messes To Messages. Please visit Beth's wonderful blog for some great marriage resources!

When you're a caregiver for your spouse, people want to help. Usually, they try to help with encouraging words.

And sometimes they choose the wrong ones. Please understand that the sample comments listed below are presented with no intention of disrespect. They were just the wrong thing said at the wrong time.

"God is testing you." - Gee, I hope He grades on a curve!

"This must be bringing you closer together." - Yes, wiping someone's back end will do that.

"One day you'll see that this has been a blessing." - More blessing like this I don't need.

"God is  on your side." - If this is God being with me, I'd hate to piss Him off.

"Just fall into Jesus' arms." - How do I do that when I've got to stand up for my mate 24/7?

"I'll bet you're glad you have insurance." - Want to see my credit card bills?

"If you prayed harder you'd have a healing." - And if I prayed harder I'd need knee replacement.

"Why don't you get rid of your pets so you can concentrate on the person who means the most?" - Sometimes the dogs are the only thing that keeps us sane.

"I know a faith healer..." - You think we haven't TRIED that?

"I know someone who can cast out demons..." - Thanks, but, uh...no. Bring that to my spouse and the demons won't be the first thing cast out.

In replying, you've got to remember that the speaker means well. It's just that they've got no filter in this situation, and they're telling you what they imagine they'd like to hear. You can't be mad at someone who's living in an echo chamber and doesn't realize it. (Well, you CAN, but it's not productive.)

Another thing you've got to keep in mind is that there's no use arguing. The comment that you can't abide comes from a place of sincerity, and if you speak in opposition, you'll just force a defence. And you may hurt the feelings of someone who really does care.

What's the best thing to say? In my experience...

"Thanks so much for caring, and I'll think about what you said."


What sort of unsuitable remarks have you heard? What kind of reply do you think is best?

 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...he's probably going to be moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!

He's up over 200,000 signatures, but PLEASE keep the pressure on. If you haven't signed, please do! Please click o his name in the paragraph below.

If you have a moment, I'd like to ask you to visit Change.org to consider a petition to free a 'death row dog' who has been separated from his family for ten months over a misunderstanding. Marley was saved from Afghanistan by a US serviceman; please help make sure this story doesn't end in needless tragedy! Marley's gotten a lot of support...but he still needs our help.


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, December 4, 2016

Your Dying Spouse 241 - When The Caregiver Gets Sick

Sick happens, and it even happens to caregivers.

It's really hard when you're the caregiver to your husband or wife, because you really can't take a day off.

So what do you do when the flu strikes? It's not an easy thing to deal with, but there are some things that might help. Some are proactive, things you can do now.

  • Keep your spouse involved in self-care for as long as possible. The more the patient can reliably do for him-or-herself, the less of a burden it will be when your energy and ability is limited.
  • Keep your spouse involved in household chores as possible. Some patients will push to play their role in the household, while others will relax into a dependent role before it's situationally necessary. The latter should be forestalled, for the practical reason that their best efforts may be needed, and for the caregiving reason that premature dependency is a true morale-killer.
  • Write stuff down. You may be able to remember medication schedules, for instance, but at the time you need to call in outside help you may not be able to communicate them effectively.
  • Have an emergency reserve. Make sure you keep a week's supply of food and meds on hand. And have some cash available, if you need a friend or neighbour to shop for you.
  • Don't be ashamed to ask for help. If the patient no longer drives, and you're too sick to get the groceries or prescriptions, have a list ready of people whose assistance you can request. Ditto for help in the home; if you need it, you need it, so this is yet another reason for caregivers to maintain their own life, and their own friendships. There's nothing so precious as a friend who will come into your house and change a soiled adult diaper without complaint, when you just can't.
  • Be careful of exposure. Your spouse may have a drastically compromised immune system, so if you have something that can be highly contagious, take precautions. It may hurt not to kiss your husband or wife goodnight, but it's better than leaving him or her with a life-threatening illness.
  • Have an emergency plan. If you have to be hospitalized, is your spouse well enough to be left alone, with a friend to check in regularly? Or will you need a place that can provide the level of care needed, anything from a friend's house to a temporary stay in a care facility. It's too late to organize this when you've just called the paramedics because you're too sick to move.
What have I missed? What can you add?


 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...he's probably going to be moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!

He's up over 200,000 signatures, but PLEASE keep the pressure on. If you haven't signed, please do! Please click o his name in the paragraph below.

If you have a moment, I'd like to ask you to visit Change.org to consider a petition to free a 'death row dog' who has been separated from his family for ten months over a misunderstanding. Marley was saved from Afghanistan by a US serviceman; please help make sure this story doesn't end in needless tragedy! Marley's gotten a lot of support...but he still needs our help.


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, December 1, 2016

Your Dying Spouse 240 - And God Is Still Good {FMF}

Back again with Five Minute Friday, the timed keyword-driven writing challenge hosted by the wonderful and graceful Kate Motaung. Thank God for Kate!

This community is a lifeline for me.

I'm forced to write ahead of time, and will try to edit around this week's word when it's revealed. Not doing too well, physically.

(The word is CRAVE. This is going to be tough. But it's worked in at the end, and I think it kinda fits.)

And so...

It's been another bad week, and I've lost more ground than I thought I had left to lose.

Aside from the normal run of vicious abdominal pain and nausea (anyone want to finish my dinner) and the Glories of Incontinence (can anyone spell D-E-P-E-N-D-S?), there are some new things...

Dry heaves that are so physically trying that Barbara thinks that this is how I will die, overstressed by the spasms. I don't disagree.

And pain in the long bones and spine, so bad that I can barely get up from a sitting position (getting up from lying down takes minutes), and need to be half-lifted from the bath. Please pray for Barbara's back.

She thinks it may be a metastasis to the bone marrow, and that's possible. There's no way to be sure, absent tests for which we can't pay, and on the whole...I'd just as soon not know.

But God is still good, and always has been

I have a wonderful wife, and a pack of rescued dogs who will help me sit upright when I try to pass out. If I collapse outside they will huddle around me to keep me warm. If I can't walk they will drag me back to the house.

I have lovely friends (yes, YOU, who are reading this!) whose grace-filled comments on this blog keep me going, keep me wanting to witness to the good that is still in life.

I have a sheltered place to sleep. We can't really afford to heat the house, save Barbara's bedroom, but even in the colder areas it's not that bad. So many people, even in our wealthy land, have so much less.

I have nutritious and safe food, and so many people in the world do not.

I have books and DVDs, which I can appreciate with new eyes. There's both strength and hope to be found in the reboots of Star Trek and Star Wars. Thank God for J. J. Abrams and his crew!

I have hope. Perhaps there will be a healing miracle, and I do what I can to keep my dreams alive. It may not be much; it may be laying out the pattern for an aeroplane part on a piece of steel, a part that I do not now have the strength to cut out...but maybe one day, I will.

And I have a purpose, which is made manifest in this blog. Life is still worth living.

I can appreciate the smile of a happy dog, Barbara's laugh when she sees something funny on television, the shimmer of brightness in the instant before the sun peeks over the Manzanos, the mountains to the east.

I can appreciate the ability to do something, no matter how small, that moves my dreams forward, without the need to compare myself to those who have far outdistanced me in shared aspirations. And I can applaud their successes, while savouring my own.

This isn't me. This is God, and His Grace, showing me that my cup is not half empty, and not even half full.

My cup of delight and joy is filled to overflowing.

I once craved a return to health; but there is fulfillment in being exactly where I am supposed to be.

Here's the music for this week...for no other reason than it's been running through my head!



 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...he's probably going to be moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!

He's up over 200,000 signatures, but PLEASE keep the pressure on. If you haven't signed, please do! Please click o his name in the paragraph below.

If you have a moment, I'd like to ask you to visit Change.org to consider a petition to free a 'death row dog' who has been separated from his family for ten months over a misunderstanding. Marley was saved from Afghanistan by a US serviceman; please help make sure this story doesn't end in needless tragedy! Marley's gotten a lot of support...but he still needs our help.


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, November 29, 2016

Your Dying Spouse 239 - The Wet T-Shirt Contest

We're linked with Messy Marriage's From Messes To Messages. Please visit beth's site for some really great marriage resources!

Warning...this post contains...well, you'll see.

One of the things that I've had to adjust to is that I need help with bathing. The pain's too much, and a slip in the tub could be a real problem.

There is also an issue with dry heaves, which, if I've had a lot to drink (Gatorade!) can be messy.

And so, the other night...Barb had changed into her sleep shirt, and was helping me into the tub...and the dry heaves became the wet heaves, and I puked all over the front of her night-dress. Gatorade. The purple kind.

Her sole and grace-filled comment..."Well, I guess I won the wet t-shirt contest tonight."

If you can't laugh at this stuff, you have no business being terminally ill, or being a caregiver.

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

Marley update...he's probably going to be moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!

He's up over 200,000 signatures, but PLEASE keep the pressure on. If you haven't signed, please do! Please click o his name in the paragraph below.

If you have a moment, I'd like to ask you to visit Change.org to consider a petition to free a 'death row dog' who has been separated from his family for ten months over a misunderstanding. Marley was saved from Afghanistan by a US serviceman; please help make sure this story doesn't end in needless tragedy! Marley's gotten a lot of support...but he still needs our help.


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, November 27, 2016

Your Dying Spouse 238 - Gifts For Caregivers

Is there a caregiver in your life? A relative, perhaps, or a neighbour or friend?

Or are you the ill spouse, looking for a gift that will be both meaningful and useful?

Here are a few suggestions; not all will be appropriate for every 'giver', but I hope that you, reading this, may find some inspiration.

Audiobooks - caregiving can be draining, and can eat into the time and energy one might otherwise spend reading or watching a DVD. Audiobooks may be an ideal choice; they can be utilized while doing chores like dishes or laundry...or just when things are quiet and one needs to relax without too much engagement.

 An iTunes gift card - when one is too tired even for an audiobook, music can be soothing.

A pair of comfortable slippers - caregiving can require a lot of moving around, and a nice pair of shoes can make this a lot more bearable

Board games and puzzles - these are an excellent way for a caregiver and patient to remain connected as a couple.

Hand-held electronic games - great to help a patient keep occupied and mentally alert, and can be a relief for a caregiver who has to be on call whist his or her patient is sleeping.

Craft kits - really for the patient; one of the hard things about being a patient is the feeling of being useless, and the ability to make something beautiful and perhaps useful can make the caregiver's job in keeping up morale easier.

Promissory notes - these are 'tickets for help' that can be redeemed as the caregiver needs it, and can include -
  • Picking up a meal and bringing it to the caregiver's house when cooking is too much of a burden
  • Helping with cleaning
  • Taking the patient for a day out so the caregiver can have some private time (or taking the kids, if there are children in the household)
  • Taking care of pets
  • Helping with yard care
  • Washing and detailing the caregiver's car
  • Going on a library run
Incense - a house in which chronic illness is present, especially when incontinence or frequent vomiting is an issue, can really need a touch of freshness. Incense (I like sandalwood) or a potpourri can make a big difference.

Premium cigars - while smoking is not very good for you (but remember Fidel Castro lived to be 90!) the smell of a good cigar can go along way toward masking odors and can give a surprisingly pleasant ambience...and for the patient, can provide a measure of relief for pain and nausea. I use them for the latter purpose, and can highly recommend Drew Estate 'Acid Blondie', Drew Estate 'Acid Earth', and Tatiana 'Groovy Blue' as three of the best. You can buy them online from several retailers - I use Thompson Cigar. For those on a budget (like me!) Swisher Sweets are surprisingly pleasant, and readily available at Wal-Mart. (Pipe tobacco can also leave a nice, nostalgic scent, but smoking and maintaining a pipe does take a bit more work.)

What do you think? Can you add any other useful and thoughtful gifts?

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

Marley update...he's probably going to be moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!

He's up over 200,000 signatures, but PLEASE keep the pressure on. If you haven't signed, please do! Please click o his name in the paragraph below.

If you have a moment, I'd like to ask you to visit Change.org to consider a petition to free a 'death row dog' who has been separated from his family for ten months over a misunderstanding. Marley was saved from Afghanistan by a US serviceman; please help make sure this story doesn't end in needless tragedy! Marley's gotten a lot of support...but he still needs our help.


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, November 24, 2016

Your Dying Spouse 237 - No Surrender

Back with Five Minute Friday, the keyword-driven writing challenge hosted by Kate Motaung.

The work this week is SURRENDER.

Surrender is not something I was ever taught, and it's a bit late to start now. One simply fights to the end, and one does not carry a white flag.

I know that I am supposed to surrender myself to God, to park my rebel soul and hand over everything to Him. To lean into His embrace.

The problem is, I can't. Maybe I am being self-aggrandizing, but a lifetime of fighting has left no edges that might be prised up, no opening to put down the weapons of the hand and soul.

I am solid, and harder than death. I will meet the Reaper, and his scythe will break on me.

It's really pretty stupid of me, but it's the way I was made. A thousand may fall at my left hand, ten thousand at my right, but I'm going to keep fighting, last man standing.

There isn't anything else I can do. It's the way I was made - perhaps the way God made me, or maybe what it pleased me to make myself - and to do otherwise would be a lie.

I suspect God would prefer not to meet a liar.

So the fight goes on, to the death. I know I'm doomed, but I'll finish this thing the same way I started it.

No surrender, not now, not ever, and God's going to just have to deal with it.

And when I walk through the Pearly Gates and take my first steps on the Streets of Gold, there's going to be a hush from the attending angels and saints, and God Himself will forbear to meet my eye.

Thus, the Homecoming of a man who never gave up.

And here's the musical theme...



Much to my surprise, I decided to participate in a '31 Days' blogging exercise; rather than interrupt the flow of this post, I have another blog established, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Ariel Sharon) and a short commentary.

And now that October's over...I'm going to keep it going.  I hope you'll join me.

Marley update...he's probably going to be moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!

He's up over 200,000 signatures, but PLEASE keep the pressure on. If you haven't signed, please do! Please click o his name in the paragraph below.

If you have a moment, I'd like to ask you to visit Change.org to consider a petition to free a 'death row dog' who has been separated from his family for ten months over a misunderstanding. Marley was saved from Afghanistan by a US serviceman; please help make sure this story doesn't end in needless tragedy! Marley's gotten a lot of support...but he still needs our help.


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, November 22, 2016

Your Dying Spouse 236 - Unexpected Thanksgiving

We're linked with Messy Marriage's From Messes To Messages - pleas drop by Beth's site to find some really great marriage resources.

This will be rather a short post, because I've been quite ill for the past few days. I apologise.

Caregiving for your spouse is one of the most heartbreaking experiences you can endure. Seeing someone you love change from vitality to a pale shadow of what you remember, seeing pain and possibly things like memory loss - those will wound the strongest soul.

It can be tempting to ask that this cup would pass from you...but it's worth remembering this -

Only a heart that has learned to love and be loved can break. And a breakable heart is, to shamelessly borrow the title of my friend Shelli Littleton's book, "A Gift Worth Keeping"


We wish you and yours the happiest of Thanksgivings!

Much to my surprise, I decided to participate in a '31 Days' blogging exercise; rather than interrupt the flow of this post, I have another blog established, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Ariel Sharon) and a short commentary.

And now that October's over...I'm going to keep it going.  I hope you'll join me.

Marley update...he's probably going to be moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!

He's up over 200,000 signatures, but PLEASE keep the pressure on. If you haven't signed, please do! Please click o his name in the paragraph below.

If you have a moment, I'd like to ask you to visit Change.org to consider a petition to free a 'death row dog' who has been separated from his family for ten months over a misunderstanding. Marley was saved from Afghanistan by a US serviceman; please help make sure this story doesn't end in needless tragedy! Marley's gotten a lot of support...but he still needs our help.


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.