Thursday, March 02, 2023

So much, so little.

I am happy that Olive and her hubby asked us to come to their place for supper. Olive asked if we could do it Monday or Wednesday. I picked Wednesday.
This way there was more time to get hubby scrubbed up and presentable. 

For him, a shower is like running a marathon at high altitude. The effort leaves him exhausted and feeling breathless even while using his 02. He has the mobility to get in the tub and sit in the shower seat and get out.

But the rest of it has pretty much gone beyond his abilities. We've worked out a pretty good system in which I do most of the work. 

Face it as we get older, or our parents get older, this may be something we have to face. I can recall trying to get my MIL to take a shower or help her wash up and how she resisted. Think of a Donkey with their feet firmly planted and no matter what you do and how you ask, you cannot get that Donkey to step forward. You as the caregiver may as well be speaking a foreign language or gibberish. 

Not a thing in the world could convince my MIL that she needed to wash up. Eventually we solved that issue with a person from Helping Hands [a service for in home assistance]. For whatever the reason, it seemed that 'an official' -- not a family member, had more sway in these matters.

Now in the case of hubby, he puts it off and puts it off. He resists firmly in all ways that he can avoid the shower. 

Too tired.
Need a nap.
Too late in the day.
Too early in the day.
I don't like the clothes you picked out.
Too cold.
I just had one. [didn't...but that is a common one]

Last summer he had PT 3 times a week. He was motivated to clean up for the therapists and shower each week with my help so the girls saw a clean hubby.

One time I stripped the bed of everything and said there would be no sheets or bedding until he wanted a shower.
Don't laugh.
He went to bed in a flannel shirt, his jeans, but took off his shoes. He didn't care. That's what MDD does to a person and he also has damage from his stroke to his brain which also shows up as apathy.

His severe depression raises its hideous head each winter. I'm hopeful that the longer days and sunlight will help. This is the part of the year where he sits and stares at the floor or out the window at nothing.

This is what it feels like to observe him:

Where is he? What is he thinking? Where it the guy I used to know?

While visiting my mother in the nursing home for the last two years of her life, I noticed this was a a theme in so many of the rooms I passed. They didn't look like the above image, but the feeling of walking by people who sat staring off into space was uncomfortable. 
We as humans don't really know how to treat others that are in that space.

Is this what loss, despair, and depression look like? Not always, but it is tough to see.

Those who work in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living have to be angels and carry so much compassion.

And it raises the question regarding quality of life. 

If you cannot raise Hope then it feels as if all is lost.

I know that I have to keep my hope and positive disposition alive or I will easily fall into that place of darkness.
That may be a simple explanation as to why I take walks in pouring rain just to see water run over sticks in a ditch.
It gives me a sense of wonder and that gives me daily hope.

Our visit with Olive, her husband, and son went wonderfully.  I cannot recall the last time my husband went somewhere for a visit.

Three cheers for good neighbors!


  1. So happy you had a good visit. You both deserve it. Especially the caregiver. You rarely make much of your difficulty, but having walked that road, I'm aware of it. I think the dog and the fresh air are lifesaving for you.

    1. This past year, I've found a way to deal with caregiver stress a bit better than in other years. Self care for me means I need to keep learning something that intrigues me to keep my mind busy.
      Hiking, fresh air, my sidekick Charlie, and my camera all are livesavers.

  2. Anonymous6:25 AM

    Glad you have wonderful neighbors and you and hubby enjoyed a good meal and fellowship. So important as we age to keep socializing. RHill, TX

  3. You do an admirable job of keeping the wheels turning, both for yourself and Rich. It is no easy task, for either of you.

    Many times resistance comes from the last of a persons ability to have say/control over something. Anything. Not saying in Rich's case. In general. I've personally observed, and read about such. It is real, and it is very hard. Whatever the reason. For everyone involved.

    Both of you gathering with your neighbor friends over a meal, is nothing short of wonderful. Cheers to many more good times!!

  4. Anonymous10:27 AM

    Out to dinner! So good for you....both of you. Lori

  5. What a blessing to have good neighbours. So good for your husband to interact with people even if it is a lot of work to get him ready for an outing. It must be hard for him to not be able to do everything he used to do, and hard for you to handle too. Hang in there , it is such a blessing for him to be able to remain at home instead of being stuck in a nursing home. That time may yet come, but for now, you are a blessing to him.

  6. So glad you got out for supper, what good neighbors you have!
    Yes showering or taking a bath is exhausting here too, but my husband likes to go to bed clean if he is really sick then he will forego the bath/shower. So he showers here every night...a bath in the whirl pool at home is easier for him. I help if needed...sometimes just drawing the bath water helps...I make sure he gets in and out safely and then shave his head. Our nightly ritual...this is after he does his nebulizers he has four and then his vest...that all takes about 90 minutes. BUT he has stayed out of the hospital more than a year it is worth it to keep him well.
    I know that it isn't easy being a caregiver...we can only do the best we can do and take some time for ourselves everyday so we don't go nuts:)

  7. My come back has been slow but great. I still keep a bench in the tub as I don't want to ever fall. I use it more now because I am lazy. I am glad I am beyond needing help but I push myself everyday to try and gain back what I lost. I can't put a man's day of work in anymore but I can do it in two or three days combined. I am still my wife's caretaker in so many ways.


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