Taking Trips

Joe wasn’t much of a traveling guy. When his health was good he tended to stay home and not go anywhere. If I suggested a trip, he would say it was too much trouble. That changed when he had to be at home because of his health. All of a sudden he wanted to take rides and go out to eat. He had a “bucket list” of sorts. I would hear him say “I would like to go there one day” and I would make a mental list.

We took day trips to Strasburg Rail Road and Fallingwater in Pennsylvania while he was still ambulatory and not on oxygen. Now Joe had no idea what it took for me to arrange a trip. Just a day trip wasn’t bad, but one day I got the idea to take him to Ocean City, MD for a weekend. Joe was always a beach guy while I was mostly a mountain type girl. Ocean City is not in my top 10 places to visit. Since this was a bucket list type of thing, I couldn’t just get a room anywhere in Ocean City, we had to have one ocean side and near the boardwalk. It had to be off season cause we couldn’t afford several nights in the middle of the season. Joe was on oxygen and in a wheelchair for any distance so there were some special things I had to do. I got a room (handicapped accessible with shower chair) in a hotel on the boardwalk, ocean-side. I had to order oxygen to be sent to the hotel (ordered two weeks in advance!) which was delivered to the wrong hotel at first (heart attack time!!) but the concierge found it. Then the packing and the driving (over 2 hours) to Ocean City.

I have to say that it was so worth it. Although he couldn’t go on the beach, he loved to stand on the balcony and look out over the ocean. We walked up and down the boardwalk several times. While we were there we called his cousin in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware (just a “jog” up from Ocean City) and on Saturday we visited them. It was a wonderful evening.

All the work I did for these trips was definitely worth it. I’m praying the whole time we’re traveling cause I know anything can happen to make the trip a nightmare, but God always blessed us on these trips. It was one of the ways I learned to trust God and put my worries in His Hands.

Christmastime

The Holidays are a really hard time for those of us who are taking care of a family member. Always hovering over, being sure that they aren’t getting too stressed or tired. Trying to make this Christmas the best (will it be the last one?). That thought just brings the heartache to a whole new level.

Joe loved Mannheim Steamroller. He loved their electronic style music that was mixed in with the regular orchestra sounds. One year I decided I would take him to a concert that was being given about an hour away. Joe had no appreciation for the planning that it took to give him an outing like this. He just was happy to go. I wanted balcony seats so he could see everything that happened but had to be sure we could get there via wheelchair, making sure we had enough oxygen for the duration and be ready for any other variables that could happen. These trips always took a lot of planning.

But it was so worth it. Seeing his face while the concert was happening, the light show, the music was wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute, even though I’m not a huge fan of Mannheim Steamroller.

Here is a clip of Mannheim Steamroller in concert doing Silent Night. Enjoy!!

Don’t Quit

I have a poem in a little holder on my desk and it’s been an inspiration to me off and on during my life. When I thought of putting it up on this blog I wanted to credit the writer. Well, I found out that there are many persons attributed to this poem and most of the poems that I read are similar to this one, but not quite the same.

So… here is the poem but at this time I’m not sure who wrote it:

When things go wrong
as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging
seems all uphill,
When the funds are low
and the debts are high,
And you want to smile,
but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit…
By all means pray, and don’t you quit.
Success is failure turned inside out,
God’s hidden gift in the clouds of doubt.
You never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar.
So trust in the Lord
when you’re hardest hit…
It’s when things go wrong,
that you must not quit!

Walking this Journey

You may recognize the “sign-post” that I have up. It’s the stages of grief. Anyone who has been to a counselor or therapist should know the stages. I joked with my counselor that I was so acquainted with them I knew them by heart.

You see, any loss be it a job, a move, any large changes in your life will kick in with some of these stages. We who are caregivers should be very well acquainted with them, indeed. We feel the grief when our family member is diagnosed with a terminal condition. They haven’t died yet, but we are already starting down that road of denial, anger, bargaining and depression. And while we are caring for our terminal family member, even if it’s for a short time, we may “move around” from one stage to another and back again. And just because we get to acceptance doesn’t mean we’re through grieving.

The one I got stuck in more than others was depression. That one is a killer. I read once that depression is anger turned inward. We can’t just be angry at the one we’re caring for so we stuff that anger and then feel guilty for being angry in the first place. I took a mild anti-depressant while taking care of Joe. I needed it so I could focus at my work and be functional in my life. I also went to a counselor, someone who is not judgemental who could listen to all my frustrations.

We all need an outlet for our feelings. Find someone, whether it’s a counselor, therapist or just a very understanding friend, who you can talk openly to. Someone who can listen to your frustrations and anger and not let it bother them. Someone who understands. If you need to use anti-depressants to help you get through your journey, because this is a journey, not just a little side trip off the road of life, then use them.

These stages are going to be a large part of your journey. Please find someone to help you walk through it.