Count It All Joy

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Count It All Joy

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reciprocate-18336_640When my husband finally returned home after spending five months in three different hospitals, my profound joy overshadowed any trepidation about the task ahead of me. I was determined that I could completely manage his care. Never mind that he was not yet able to stand or walk on his own, or that he was still receiving some nourishment through a feeding tube. Forget that I was unable to leave him alone since a brain injury had obliterated his short-term memory. Even though he still struggled with incontinence, I believed I could handle anything.

Those first weeks he was home are truly still a blur. Even though I was entirely overwhelmed, I was still convinced I didn't need to accept offers of help. Thankfully, we'd been assigned a nurse who made regular visits, so I wasn't wholly responsible. She quickly became not only an ally, but a dear friend. My fearless attitude lasted until the first time my husband fell. When I was unable to get him up, I simply had no choice but to ask for help.
During the next several years of caregiving, I grew more and more comfortable receiving support. I learned the benefits of allowing others to step in and help. I became adept at receiving assistance in countless ways. This change did not occur overnight, and at times I still found myself resisting. I can clearly remember one instance when I tried to decline an offer for help. This friend stated, "Please don't rob me of the happiness I would feel by helping you. You would be taking that gift away from me."

When we got the news last year that my husband would need to begin dialysis, I desperately wanted to do dialysis for him at home. I knew that I would be unable to do this without receiving support from others. I didn't hesitate when my sister and a friend offered to go through training with me. This enabled me to take breaks, knowing they could care for my husband in my absence. This allowed me precious trips to visit my father in Texas after his devastating cancer diagnosis.

As family caregivers, it is often difficult to receive help. It may be hard to relinquish that rigid control of certain aspects of care. We may feel as though no one else can understand exactly what is needed. I've come to realize that receiving support is essential to a positive caregiving experience. We can glean countless rewards from the strength and energy of those around us.

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Denise

I love this post! It reminds us what help gives, including those very special and precious days with your dad.\r\n\r\nWith help, we can and we do.\r\n\r\n:)