Confessions of a First-Time Caregiver, Part 2

MikeLur

Confessions of a First-Time Caregiver, Part 2

MikeLur
candles-492171_640O, Ye Have Little Faith

I guess you can say I'm a man of faith. For the past seven years I've been going to a church I love, serving on teams, attending special events and services. Not only that, I have my daily spiritual practices and I feel that they have been working for me in my life. But when I saw my father in that hospital bed, every day with a new tube or another procedure, there was no way I thought he was going to pull through.

I knew that was not the mindset I needed to be in. Not only did I have to turn my thinking around, I had to make sure my father was on board as well. Several times in ICU I read him affirmations and scripture, reminding him, "the healing power of God is within you." I knew he could hear me as I prayed for him. I knew he was praying with me. Good thing, because although I'm just shy of 50 years, this is the closest I've ever been to such illness and although I was strong and continued to function, be supportive and productive, inside I was a mess. I'm glad I had so many others praying for him (and us) because then, and even now, I barely have time to pray myself.

Seeing my dad like that was foreign, yet familiar. As a boy, I obsessed over losing my parents. I never actually imagined them being sick in the hospital, but I had feared that void that comes with loss. Oddly enough, through all that worry, I've never been without them. Nonetheless, during those excruciating 7 days in the hospital, I mourned him.

There's still a lot of my father in there, but every day, a little more of him is lost. While his physical self continues to get stronger -- he's regained so much of his left side function -- his cognitive abilities are dwindling. He was sharper the day after brain surgery than he is now, some six weeks later. And when the professionals mention his dementia, the always add that it will likely progress.

It's been difficult to reconcile medical realities and spiritual beliefs with conflicting information and opinions coming at me. In the grand scheme of things, my dad is doing phenomenally despite the cognitive decline. Even his surgeon was amazed when he saw him at his first follow-up. It's not a complete recovery just yet, but still, it's been quite miraculous.