Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Six Years, and Ready for 60 More

Today marks the sixth year since a major stroke left my dad in need of a full-time caregiver. Six years ago, while other people were still focused on the events of 9/11, my family was focus on Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane Washington. On where my dad was being treated after he suffered a massive stroke.

Six years has put us through a lot. I have learned a lot about what it means to be a caregiver.

I've fought my way through burnout and depression.

I've found out what true best friends are as the three most important non-family members in my life steadfastly stood by me and coaxed me through the rough spots as other friends faded away into the background.

I have discovered that people can wear themselves out so much they collapse unconscious while engaged in a conversation with someone.

I have endured as doctors told my dad he had under two weeks to live.

I've seen doctors panic at his irregular heartbeat, give him Nitro and then rush him off to the emergency room - only to have his normal doctor shake her head and inform them his heart *always* sounds like that.

I have watched others try to take on the tasks that I trudge through. They never last more than a week, maybe two.

I have learned to do the work of two nurses, a physical therapist, a home maker, a cook and a maid and still find the energy to work at the home business I am trying to run.

I have seen a lot and experienced a lot and my only wish is that my dad will need my help for at least another 20+ years. I don't regret for a moment having been the one to take on this task, even if there are times I sit and cry and think how I should just walk out and let one of my older siblings be the responsible one.

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