Birthday Celebration: Today, Honor Your Caree with a Story

love-600x600Every day this week, we’re celebrating CareGiving.com’s 17th birthday with activities and prizes, including a grand prize of $300.

Today, we’re celebrating in honor of your carees by sharing a favorite memory or story.

What’s the memory of your caree, during good health, that you treasure the most? What’s your favorite story about your caree? What memory of your caree will you hold dear for years to come?

Share your memory and stories in our comments section, below. When you post a comment here, you’ll be entered into a chance to win one of our daily prizes and one of our grand prizes. To win a daily prize and/or a grand prize, you must be a family caregiver, a member of CareGiving.com and participate in one of our daily disrupt activities. Not a member of CareGiving.com? It’s easy and free to join; just go here.

Have fun!

Congrats to the winners of yesterday’s daily prizes:
@comicvixen won a copy of @ejourney’s eBook, Caregiving in Five Lines;
@tiredamy2007 won copy of our eBook, An Anthology: Help, Comedy, Forgiveness, Gifts, which features the stories of family caregivers;
@brilea5029 won Take Comfort and Take Comfort, Too, the MP3s, audio versions (in my voice) of my books, Take Comfort and Take Comfort, Too.

Look for an email this afternoon with your win.

Resources
Learn about our week-long birthday celebration, including our eligibility requirements to win the daily and grand prizes, here.

Reminders
Be sure to share what caregiving is like for you in our annual family caregiver survey. Take our survey here. Please ask other family caregivers you know to complete the survey, too. (Thank you!!)

Avatar of Denise

About Denise Brown

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched CareGiving.com in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.

14 thoughts on “Birthday Celebration: Today, Honor Your Caree with a Story

  1. Avatar of JaneJane

    This isn’t a memory of Nicole prior to diagnosis but one that just occurred in July. This would be her Make-a-Wish trip (that really wasn’t a trip). We went down the road to Orlando and stayed at the Ritz-Carlton for four days. Nicole met her best friend Shayne who lives in Maine. She has known him for about 5 years and they have been best friends for the last two of those years. They had never met in person.

    I will always remember the smiles, laughs and the joy on Nicole’s face and even Shayne’s. I haven’t seen her smile and laugh like that in years.

    Hugs:o)
    Jane

    Reply
  2. Avatar of RichardRichard

    My favorite story of my caree is when she was going into surgery to have her lung drained and scraped of build up cutting down on its available air capacity and they were trying to get a vein to insert an IV into. Mom had already been in this hospital before and the doctors new her well. So the tech comes into insert the IV and we start like we usually do by telling them that she is normally a very hard poke (out of the gutter everyone) and it usually takes 3-4 techs and minimum of 2 stabs before they get it and the majority of the time they end up having to go into the back of the hand. Well this Airmen 1st Class (A1C) pumps out his chest and taking that as a challenge says, “I can do it and it will be on the first try.” Anyone care to guess what happened? Some of you guessed it,
    after sticking mom three times we hear, “Excuse me but I need to call and get some help.” Next tech comes in, two down and how many to go. At this point me, mom and little brother are taking bets. Now pediatrics comes in and brings their black light (used for premature infants) but the tech and we’ve stepped it up to a Captain wants to try it old school, free hand and at this time right before the back light was brought in, mom has been poked 6 times from left arm to right arm to left hand and then right hand they’ve even been looking at both hands, feet, back of both upper arms (triceps) and the neck. The Captain gives and pulls in the “Black Light” which is suppose to mask the color of the skin and highlight the veins. Worked but two needles later nothing now we are down 5 techs, 4 techs in training, to pediatric specialists and the most recent a surgical specialist who is going to be in mom’s surgery in about 45 minutes. We are 2 hours running on trying to get a vein, every joke possible about blood, nurses, doctors, her surgery and much much more has been said and everyone is in a calm mood because of it.

    Several of the techs afterwards thanked us for keeping the mood light and for not arguing or getting upset with then for hurting or having to stick their loved ones more than once. Finally Dr. Pratt, attending surgeon and all around great doctor, was called and updated on the situation. Within minutes here he comes rushing through the door, was briefly updated and the said something to the point of, “Clear the room.” In seconds left in the room were Dr. Pratt, his surgical assistant and an A1C. Through a small opening in the draw curtain we could see what was happening and were close enough to hear also. He took a few minutes and looked at the backs of her hands, mom still throwing out jokes when he said “We have to go into the neck. This will also keep us from having to put in another IV in the surgical room.” A IV needle, tube and saline solution bag was grabbed off the tray and in one decisive push he was in. After all that, it came down to one man, one needle and one neck, mom’s. After he was done he said it was so nice to see a family so involved with a patient and that if all you do when in the hospital is worry and stress, the recovery time is longer. Also that if when you’re sick, disabled, stressed, etc and all you ever do during the recover time is stress and worry that test have proven that the recovery time is longer than those patients who add humor, laughter, smiles and and overall positive attitude. Fill your thoughts, your room with items, thoughts and people with positive attitudes and that bring positive vibes with them. I hope you find this as positive and funny as we did. Namaste’ / : ^{ ) >

    Reply
  3. Avatar of RichardRichard

    Pecan, Mincemeat or Lemon Meringue?

    My favorite memory of my grandmother who was a caree of mine when it came to taking her to lunch or being asked if I could drive her to one of her medical appointments. This is a favorite to the majority of my mom’s seven brothers and sisters and will be one of the top three if asked, “What do you remember most about your grandmother/mother?” Mom was at work and upon arriving home entered to find grandma laying on the floor heading to the front door where the local newspaper and shipping companies left deliveries. Now grandma was no small woman so when we say she was laying on the floor there had to be a reason a major reason. Within fives minutes of mom getting home I received a call I will never forget, “Richard, I think grandma’s passed away. She’s on the floor and not moving” WHAT?? I’LL BE RIGHT OVER.

    Sure enough she was, mom had thrown a sweater over her face because she couldn’t look at her. 911 had already been called as well as the closest brothers and sisters, I was her first call. After about 10-15 minutes of being there moms siblings began arriving as did the fire department. While waiting we figured out the only reason grandma used that door was to collect the paper or packages delivered. Sure enough there was a pie from the “Pie of the Month” club her and mom had signed up for. So grandma passed doing one of her favorite past times, eating desserts. Grandma loved to eat even when we would ask her if she wanted anything else she would usually say, “No thank you, I’m full” and then you would find her up at the dessert buffet or getting another helping of mashed potatoes, and so on. What made the evening even funnier was that the fire department (FD) what a great bunch of guys, remembered mom and grams from the last time they were there, remember at the beginning of this blog when I said, “grandma was no small woman” well when the FD realized what house they were at they waited to move her because they needed a total of six (6) guys to maneuver grams out of the home. I will tell you the pie Blueberry and boy was it good. We saved a piece for you grams, at least until it started turning out penecillin.

    There’s always a positive in everything, you just may have to hunt for it. Namaste’
    .
    Did I get any on me?
    . /
    / : ^{ P >

    Reply
  4. Avatar of CasandraCasandra

    I have a lot of favorite memories of my husband. That is one thing I will never be short of are the good memories because he is such an amazing character.

    I think my favorite memory would be of him and my father. They both came and picked me up from work one day and as I was getting into the car he tried to hug me but I wasn’t expecting it and his head went into my armpit. For some reason they were both really giggly that day (who knows what they’d been talking about before I got in the car) but I said, “Get outta my armpit.” And they both started laughing hysterically. To this day, if I say the word “armpit” Marc will start cracking up like it’s the funniest thing he ever heard.

    I still have no idea what was so funny that day but the sight of him and my Father rolled over in hysterics was quite entertaining.

    AND

    …anytime he’s hanging out with my nephews. He is great with kids. And I have one picture that I’d love to frame one day with him sitting in the middle of the floor and the two youngest were next to him, Santi (the youngest) was leaning over his back with his arms on Marc’s head and the other was leaned in next to him with his head on his chest and Marc was playing on his little handheld video game device. They all looked so very serious.

    Hopefully, one day we will have children and I am lucky enough to see that same sort of scene again :)

    Happy Monday, all!

    Reply
  5. Avatar of CHRISTINE

    ‘MY DOOR ALWAYS OPEN!”

    Even thou I have many memories of my neighbor “Jody” . .. .
    I would stick routine in ADL’s and find creative new ideas for our time together.

    I’m the type of person my door always open to friends, and as well as my Caree who lives right across the street.

    My favorite memory would have to be one morning when I went over her house her Husband “Lloyd” was awake chit chatting with me while Jody was sleeping. He was upset her condition of Alzheimer’s would get worst over time. I comforted him and told him it’s okay I’ll never leave her & be by her side.

    As Jody woke up I followed with my routine. I fixed breakfast eggs, sausage, toast, yogurt and orange juice, while Lloyd proceeded to give her daily medication. After, breakfast she brushed her teeth, followed a shower of course with Bath & Body Works (Jody’s favorite!)She loved her showers about 45mins some days even longer. Can’t for get the smell goods like lotion and body sprays after a shower! Also, a routine of getting dressed; which was dressed “top to bottom” from the top of your body to the bottom. Bra, depend, blouse, pants, socks , and shoes. All fresh to start the day!!

    Then shortly after that I visited for awhile And listened to music which she sang every tune better than I can. The music calmed her and relaxed her. Then I decided to get back across the street telling Jody I’ll visit later and check on her. She replied “okay”

    I walked back across the street to my house, I remember she looked lonely when I left. My family always left the door open to glance over and keep a eye out on Jody. My family and I were cleaning and so on. While I heard someone at the door, it opened up it was Jody. I asked her if she okay she said yeah. So, turned on cartoons she loved while my Daughter got her some juice and snacks. I quickly called Lloyd inform him she over my house, he already knew he couldn’t stop her in case she got combative or resisted. I told him she fine over here, and when she willing wants to come back home I’ll escort her back myself. He agreed, and Jody had a great social time. She also talked to my family with smiles and giggles that filled the air.

    She decided after almost 2 hours she wanted to go, I accompanied her back slowly and safely. She was tired and wanted ready for bed. I assisted her in toileting, brush teeth, and changing into night clothes. Shortly after she walked around the house then went into bedroom lay down by herself went to sleep. Lloyd was in kitchen with me I told him what Jody enjoyed and had fun at my house. He replied She trusts and loves being with you, your so good to her. I replied “Lloyd my door always open for Jody!”

    “My door always open” because all are welcome to feel at home and relax make themselves at home, with snacks, television , movies, and good company, so come on in!! The good things in life & remember that “MY DOOR IS ALWAYS OPEN!!!”

    In Loving Memory Of

    “Jody”

    Reply
  6. Avatar of tiredamy2007tiredamy2007

    I used to care for my grandmother. She was the most sweet but at the same time the most ornery person around. When my dad and i would got to appointments, sometimes she would like to go along. She loved to listen to the golden oldies. That was okay with me and dad cause that is what we always listened to also. So we would be singing every note. It was so sweet, one time i stopped singing and listened to her and it was so cute. Have you even seen the ones on TV that think they know the words. She was singing completely off the wall things. Her favorite song was so funny My dingeling.

    Also when we would go on these outings, she would always sit behind me in the car. Every time a semi would pass us she would scream and then say “I am alright.” Well she started to go down hill and couldn’t go with us anymore. Right before she passed she looked over and said “I am alright.” I will always remember this and keep it in my heart.

    Reply
  7. Avatar of ChrisChris

    Between Father Orlando and The Little One, there are so many wonderful Caregiving stories to tell. Father Orlando firing the CNA at the day care center he attended was a memorable one especially since she was an employee of the day care center and not an employee of ours! I still laugh about that story with the executive director when we see each other. Those late night trips to the hospital, or long talks, or those ‘funny’ moments in the car or a restaurant when those Depends, are just not as dependable as they advertise. The Little One has created some memorable stories, too. Whether it is becoming extremely angry at an incompetent customer service rep, or insisting that, ‘I can do this Chemotherapy alone and do not need anyone’s help’ makes those Caregiving conversations always exciting.

    But the story I want to share with you this evening actually involves an exchange between both Father Orlando and ‘The Little One.’ (by the way, both of their first names are Richard, so addressing them in this fashion makes it easier for you)
    Father Orlando and I always tried to use humor with some of his health calamities, especially when it came to…well…constipation. He was on a plethora of meds, which, can we say, never made him regular. We used to coin those special trips to the bathroom as his time for a ‘poop-a-Rama!’ When we started making light of his problems with constipation, he became less and less self-conscious about the problem. It was a win/win for both of us!

    I was away one Sunday afternoon and ‘The Little One’ stopped by the hospital to visit with Father Orlando…when ‘The Little One’ just happened to experience …well…a little constipation himself. Explaining his plight to Father Orlando, they both let out a laugh out loud and talked about the difficulties, and ‘fun’ of having a ‘poop-a-Rama’ when you least expect it. Listening to them both tell me this story (separately) was remarkable because they both laughed hilariously while telling the story, verbatim.

    I had not seen Father Orlando laugh like that in months; The Little One was entertaining, too! Yet there was something that Father Orlando told ‘The Little One’ during their exchange that he did not tell me which was this…’I don’t know where I would have even been if it had not been for Chris.’ Father Orlando was not one to share his feelings too often, and to tell ‘The Little One’ this was quite remarkable, because he knew that ‘The Little One’ would tell me. ‘The Little One’ asked him…’Why don’t you tell Chris’…’Oh, I could never do that, Chris would get a big head!’ They both laughed at that because they knew that getting a ‘big head’ is not my style. It was just Father Orlando’s way of showing his appreciation and love to both me, and to ‘The Little One.’ I understood it 100%.

    I share this memorable story because two days after this exchange, Father Orlando’s kidneys failed and he began his transition to eternal life. I will never forget him telling me this story on Monday morning before his kidneys failed, he was beaming with laughter and smiling from ear to ear. Twenty-four hours later he is on morphine; life takes on so many unexpected, yet beautiful journey’s.

    This story is one of the many memorable ones that Father Orlando and I experienced while being his Caregiver. Sharing this with you today brings a warm feeling in my heart, because Caregiving is not about the ‘poop-a-rama’, Caregiving is about being there in spite of those ‘poop-a-rama’s! I was truly blessed by the entire experience!

    Reply
  8. Avatar of TrishTrish

    Such great stories! I’m just going to add a couple of quick stories.

    My mom loved to read and actually loved to write poetry, too. She never thought she was very good but we could always count on “a book” to be written in all of our greeting cards. After she died, I wanted a connection with her and she did visit me in my dreams. The most profound connection came in bookstores, though. Whenever I would wander around in a bookstore (one of my most favorite past-times), I would find a book out of order or all by itself and knew it was mom helping me decide what book to get. It became something I looked forward to before even entering the store. I haven’t been to a bookstore in while but have no doubt mom would be waiting for me there.

    As far as Robert, I think what I will remember most is the gigantic smile on his face whenever I ask him if he likes living here.

    Thanks for asking us to do this, Denise!

    Reply
  9. Avatar of donnadonna

    In 2005, we found ourselves in need of a different car. We had struggled financially off and on throughout our marriage as a result of my husband’s health scares. The daily concerns about bills were beginning to take their toll on our spirits.
    We decided to try and find a car in Kansas City instead of locally since there was a better selection in our price range. After a few trips back and forth, we finally chose a dependable sedan. When the time came to go pick it up, my husband decided we should rent a car to make the hour trip to Kansas City. When he went to pick up the rental, the only one they had available in the size he’d requested was a Chrysler Sebring convertible. My husband had always been enamored with convertibles, although he’d rarely had an opportunity to take one for a spin. This particular model had been one of his favorites. When he came home to pick me up to head to Kansas City, he was grinning from ear to ear. There was a lightness in him that I sadly hadn’t seen for awhile. We thoroughly enjoyed the drive, and laughed most of the way. On our way home that night, I drove the new car and followed the taillights of the convertible. We took the winding back roads home in the dark. I’ll never forget the millions of stars above as I decided I would happily follow this man anywhere.

    Reply
  10. Avatar of JanJan

    When my mother was in the hospital last year, they loaded her up on a lot of meds she didn’t need and the overmedication produced a boatload of side effects. One of them was a feeling of fondness toward me. My mom looked at me told me how wonderful these past years had been. She thanked me for taking care of her. She told me she loved me. She didn’t want me to leave her side. Whenever I would have to leave her room for something, she made me promise to come right back. I knew it was the medication talking, but still… it was nice for a moment to hear some of those sentiments.

    But I couldn’t keep her on the mix of meds that were altering her so drastically. I mean, it just wasn’t my Mom, you know? It lasted about 24 hours, and then as the medication cycled out of her system, the sentimentality morphed into mild paranoia, and then, in a couple of days, that subsided and she was back to “normal.”

    I’m not sure who that sweet stranger was. But I often wonder if I’ll see her again someday.

    Reply
  11. Avatar of PegiPegi

    I am very blessed to have so many wonderful memories with my husband prior to all the health issues. It’s even difficult to choose just one. But I will bore you with a really old one; close to when we first met. My husband and his Dad had just purchased a “Tavern and Dance Hall” as they called it. He sponsored a lot of softball teams. At the time I was in Promotional Advertising and a mutual friend introduced us when he found out hubby was in need of softball uniforms. We met a few times to discuss business; and he placed an order with me. I was waiting to hear back from him on his logo. He called and asked me to meet him at the Tavern; it was a Friday night and the band was playing. My business partner kept telling me that he had a “thing” for me. I told associate, don’t be ridiculous; it’s the type of business he’s in and I have to go when the client requests in this business. So I dressed in my business suit and heels, carrying my briefcase I entered the Hall. Immediately my now husband waved down one of his employees to come and relieve him from behind the bar. He proceeded to take me by the hand and whisk me out onto the dance floor. And he could dance, the old fashion ballroom type of slow dance. It was incredibly romantic, and as they say the rest is history.

    Reply

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