Snap, snap, click, click went his camera. All I could keep thinking was, What was I thinking?
What am I referring to? A recent visit to our house by a photographer who does freelance work for The New York Times. Why was he there? Well, this is that story ~
About six months ago I received an email from Denise. She wants to know if I would be interested in being interviewed for a story about caregiving for The NY Times. Sure, I said. What have I got to lose? I thought. So she sends them my contact information and I begin emailing back and forth with one of the writers.
After numerous emails, they wanted to know if they could call me an get some further information. Sure, I said. (Do we see a pattern? I always seem to say "sure.") I was thinking that the story was going to be about caregiving, in a sense it is but in a bigger sense. It's more about the financial sacrifices of caregivers. Oh, well I can definitely relate to that.
After talking at length with this lady, it seems she was quite enlightened as to what all is sacrificed when you are a caregiver. Well, a caregiver like me, who no longer holds a public job, and lives off of her parent's Social Security account and juggles the finances every month to exist. A few days later, she calls me back and says she's sorry but they aren't doing the story at this time, but wanted to know if she could keep my information and contact me in the future. Sure, I said (:) ).
Let's now fast forward to last Wednesday. I have a terrible cold, and am in my recliner trying to rest and the phone rings. I think the phone rang 500 times that day. It's the lady from The NY Times, and they want to run the story. In my abyss of cold medicine, I say, Okay. She says someone will get back to me after while.
I doze off, the phone wakes me (again) and it's another lady from The NY Times. The photo editor--yikes. She wants to know if she can send a photographer the next day to take pics of me and Dad. I shake my head waking up--WHAT?!! Yes, they want to send a photographer to take pics because they're running the story. Wait a minute, can't I just email you a recent photo of us? I have some nice ones and that would be so much easier and better for us. No can do, they don't do that. Of course.
Now, within the last month Dad had a hospitalization, and is getting home therapy. They're coming for visits too. I explain this to the lady, along with the fact that I'm sick and possibly contagious and she doesn't seem to mind. Of course not, she's not coming. And the latest that I can put her off until is Friday because they want the story to run Monday at the latest.
So I face the music now and explain this to Dad as it's finally going to happen. You don't do this ahead of time because what if things change? So on cold, dreary Friday morning I get Dad up reminding him of the visitors (therapist) coming that day and the photographer coming.
Once he's up and has breakfast, I ask him to shave (something he can do himself). He doesn't want to. Oh boy. I ask several times nicely and nope, he's not doing it because why? Oh, he doesn't want to. So I tell him that if he doesn't do it, then I'm going to do it. This would normally scare your average man, knowing I haven't ever shaved a man with any type of razor, straight, disposable or electric. Nope, not him--he's fearless. So I gather all his grooming supplies, lather him up with Afta and bzzzzzzzz here we go.
Yes, I did it. He wasn't happy but oh well, it had to be done. I could NOT have that photographer come and take pics of him not groomed. He said he didn't care. Of course he didn't. But I did.
Once I finished that feat and neatened up a few things, the photographer was knocking. In comes this little guy who was the epitome of a "big city" photographer, down to his thick rimmed glasses. He's very soft spoken and friendly, and begins snapping pictures of Dad and myself. In the meantime, knock knock - it's the therapist. He's come to discharge Dad from home therapy since he's doing so well (the manager, not the therapist came). I think when he realized Dad is homebound he figured why waste more time here. That's another subject, back to the pictures.
Well. the therapist wanted to be in the pictures. He calls his boss and they said not without 48-hours notice and something in writing. So he doesn't get to play. Dad does fairly well with his therapy and he leaves (yay).
After he leaves the photographer stares at us and said, Okay, just do what you normally do around here. HA! I looked at him, so did Dad. This IS what we normally do. He was shocked, he didn't seem to realize that caregiving involves a lot of time that looks like it stands still. Now I could have been doing. um, laundry, dishes, cleaning, etc. but I was not doing that while he was here. Dad would have had a fit.
So he keeps taking pictures, and taking more, and taking more. He took them of Dad, he took them of me, he took them of us. I'm surprised he didn't take them of the empty walls. It seemed like it took forever and we thought he would NEVER leave! I was about ready to SNAP myself by then and I think so was Dad. He said the article was due to run on Monday, he didn't know which picture they would use (of course) but he would send me the files of all of the pictures he took two weeks after the story runs.
So, Monday morning I log on and go to The NY Times and what to I see? A pic of me looking like I'm barking at Dad. Of all the ones they could have picked. It's kind of funny, did make us laugh. I've heard lots of comments about the story and the pic from friends and loved ones and they all think the story was one worth telling. Glad I had the opportunity to be a part of it, and hopefully it can bring some awareness to just what lengths some caregivers go to for their loved ones.
Here's the story: Middle Class Shrinks Further as More Fall Out Instead of Climbing Up
Like this article? Share on social
Join our mailing list
Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter that includes caregiving tips, news, support and more.