I am a caregiver. I take care of both my parents. My Mom has Pulmonary Hypertension, a cruel debilitating disease that is currently incurable. Imagine having to breath through a straw while holding your nose….that is how life with PH is for a patient. Mom is also a dialysis patient, meaning she has a kidney disease that limits her kidney function. As if those two diseases weren’t enough she also has Heart Failure (thanks to her PH), diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and is she is still recovering from having broke her hip and right should last summer.
In early 2014, Mom was having issues breathing and admitted to the hospital. Two hospitals, and three rehabilitation centers and two short life expectancies later she is home and adjusting to her “new norm”. Her “new norm” consisted of Dialysis treatments 3 days a week, sessions lasting between 3-4 hours long. Being confined to wearing oxygen 24/7. Learning how to strengthen her legs to be able to walk again. Learning how to use a cane/walker. And so many other things.
My father has been in pretty good health most of his life, which is great considering he has been a smoker for 60 plus years. But in 2014 when Mom was hospitalized, Dad underwent a surgery to remove a spot from his lung. The same exact day that Mom was put on a ventilator Dad went in and had a third of his right lung removed. I think of March 16, 2014 as the day that my world pretty changed and caregiving became my new normal.
I have grown so much since then. If you knew me before then, I can promise you I am not that same girl I was before. I’m older, wiser, and maybe a little quieter. My mind constantly works in overdrive thinking of things, it never stops. I lost a few friends because I simply can’t drop everything to go out. But then at the same time said friends never really were friends if that sentiment has to be explained.
This is my life. God chose me for this role because he knew I could handle it, though sometimes I wonder if he may have gotten my strength confused with someone else. For the simple fact that at times I feel so very weak and helpless. But I take a deep breath and care on, because I have two wonderful, amazing people relying on me and I can’t let them down.
To those who do not understand what it is like to be a caregiver, I feel for you. Though it’s the hardest job I have ever had, it’s also the most rewarding one I’ve ever had.