Anger and Frustration

What do you do with your anger? Our world has enough stress in it right now, adding caregiving on top of it creates a whole new kind of pressure. I know that I wasn’t the wonderful, kind loving person that the last couple of posts seem to paint me. I got plenty frustrated at Joe and it built into anger.

For example, we went through a lot of health care aides for a while. Joe was not very nice to these wonderful people who would come in and give him a shower, dress him and make sure he ate. On the whole, most of these ladies were kind, wonderful people. Joe would make them cry. He was mean. He’d call them names. I had one wonderful woman who would cry almost every night when I came home, but she kept coming back. Some of them didn’t.

He would tell them he wanted to wait for me to come home and give him a shower. We had done this for several years previously because he was mostly ambulatory but needed help in the shower. As his physical condition got worse he needed help to walk (fall risk) and get around and so we were able to get the home aides. I was working full time to support us, and by the time I got home, made dinner and then give him a shower, I was so tired. I was already running exhausted all the time and his meanness with the aides just put me over the edge.

I had already talked to Joe (nicely) about being nice to the aides. I had encouraged him to take his showers during the day so I wouldn’t have that burden with him in the evening. We’d had a lot of talks about this. He’d say he just didn’t like them or they wouldn’t take care of him his way (which was to leave him alone).

After the fourth or fifth aide had come and gone I lost it. I yelled. I hollered. I blew my stack. I told him straight out that if he made it so I had to quit work to take care of him, he would regret every minute I was home. I told him if he didn’t straighten up I would slam him in a nursing home and never visit. There was a few other threats, but you get the idea.

It worked. At least for a bit of time. We also got an aide who had a thick skin and wouldn’t take the “guff” from him. I thanked God for her everyday, she was that good. She stayed with Joe up to the time I did put him in a nursing home because his medical needs were getting overwhelming for me and for the aides and the Home Health Care Nurses were coming more and more frequently.

I know I shouldn’t have blown up on him that way, but what do you do with all that frustration that builds up? It’s so hard to get any time to yourself, but I’d manage an hour or two on the weekends and that helped. I also had a counselor that I could vent to and a couple of friends that I would talk to. My faith also helped to temper much of my emotion. I look back on this time now and I feel some guilt for acting that way. But we are all on a “Learning Curve” so to speak. Most of us are thrown into caregiving without warning and the “Learning Curve” is very steep. So, even though I know I wasn’t my best person at that time, I forgive myself for acting that way and move forward. It’s the best thing to do.

When God Blesses

Joe at Horseshoe Curve

We do a lot for the people we take care of, and as I said before I had this “bucket list” of places Joe wanted to see. One of them was Horseshoe Curve near Altoona, PA. Although this would normally be a day trip from our home (about a two hour drive) Joe’s condition by this time was such that a trip to the doctor was very tiring for him. He was such a train loving guy; he even had DVDs of trains that he would play during the day. So a three day trip was planned, two to travel to and from and one day to see “the Curve”.

I picked a weekend and after packing the car with oxygen and medical supplies, off we went. I did some research about the Curve and I really wanted Joe to see some trains when we were there. However, I found that there wasn’t any guarantee that a train would pass while we waited. I did find out that they have a “funicular” or a car that would take visitors up the side of the mountain to view the trains (yes, handicapped accessible!). We arrived and used the funicular (it’s really fun!) to reach the park that they’ve created. This whole time I’m praying for the Lord to send one train, just one train, please?

There wasn’t any trains for a while. We walked around (or Joe rode and I pushed) and looked at the scenery (fantastic) and the sign boards that gave a history of the Curve and the area. I’m still praying… I asked Joe if he wanted to leave, but no, he just wanted to wait.

And then a rumble came from the right and here came a train (thank you, Lord!) and it passed by and went to our left. Then there was another rumble and here comes a train from the left going to our right. I was overwhelmed with gratitude to the Lord. Joe was sitting there looking like a loon, he was so happy.

We were getting ready to leave when the ground rumbled again. This time there were two trains going opposite directions on two different tracks. They passed each other right in front of Joe. I was crying with joy by this time, but Joe didn’t notice, he was mesmerized by the trains passing in front of him. The noise was incredible!!

When the Lord answers my prayer and blesses us with such a small thing as trains passing by (and He really showed off!!) I know he hears all my prayers. Sometimes he can’t give us the answers right away, but in this case, He did. My trust in the Lord was so increased that day.

Happy New Year!

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

Are you a person that makes new year’s “resolutions?” I used to be. You think that you are going to get a fresh start in the new year and you resolve to do your life differently. Sometimes it may be losing weight, exercising more, being kinder, a better person in some way or another. Well, I finally figured out that I don’t have to wait until a new year to start.

Take that verse from Lamentations at the top. The love of the Lord never ceases and are new every morning. Everyday we should strive to be a better person then we were the day before. We have 365 days to resolve to be something better. Starting today, resolve to make everyday a new start.