Caregiver’s Log: Day 985
4:00 am: Awaken, astonished by
your internal body clock’s ability to snap you out of a deep sleep at precisely
4:00 am. Every single morning, like a mother with a newborn. Mutter a quick
request of the Universe to be open to whatever comes next and help you help others.
Stand in front of mirror repeating the three pages of affirmations your AA
sponsor has you write as part of the amends you’ve never made to yourself, even
after twenty years of sobriety.
4:05 am: Arm yourself with a pot of Dark Magic coffee. Write for a half hour in your Clairefontaine notebook, purchased a half dozen at a time. Draft this week’s blog post, “Drama Mama.”
5:00 am: Prepare Round One of your husband’s three-a-day IV antibiotic infusions. Administer with freshly-scoured and gloved hands. Scrub PICC line with alcohol wipe. Inject saline flush. Alcohol wipe. Inject antibiotic over the span of the longest five minutes of your life. Alcohol wipe. Inject saline flush. Alcohol wipe. Inject Heparin. Alcohol wipe. Smile when he says, “This better fucking work,” and respond a little too brightly: “It will! Stay positive!”
medical waste accordingly. Wash hands.
- Find Compassion: Walk a mile in your caree’s shoes
- Be Patient: It’s is a positive side-effect of compassion
- Stay Positive: The 80/20 rule works here, and sometimes in reverse
- Pray. A Lot: To whatever power greater than you propelling you through this wild ride
- Ditch the Drama: No one wants to hear about a self-sacrificing martyr, let alone be one
- Give & Ye Shall Receive: Being of service isn’t selfish
- Treat yourself: Even a half-hour away with a latte is a well-deserved reward
- Rest Up: Manadatory for both caregiver and caree
- Love Thyself: Daily affirmations remind us of our purpose, value and why we do this
- Learn & Share: As you’ve been helped by other caregivers, so shall your wisdom help them
Be gentle. Give freely. Stay real. Because we’re all doing the best we can with situations we’ve never been through before.
On a trail run this week, I encountered two women blocking the narrow single-track path. “There’s a rattlesnake up ahead,” one whispered. “Coiled and ready to strike.”
Snakes on an Arizona trail aren’t unusual. But normally there’s no advance warning. I leap over them, the surge of adrenaline fueling me forward.
It’s not always like this.
My caregiving life involves planning: appointments, activities, lunch dates. But as a writer, in the increasing moments when I release outcomes to the Universe with all the magic of a child blowing bubbles in the wind, I can write fearlessly, submitting stories formerly challenged by self-doubt; joining a writing class that before had seemed an unattainable goal; summoning the courage to participate in a reading of my work.
A few years ago, my teenage nieces dared me to jump off the ferry pier on the island where my father lives. It was a long drop from wharf to water, the cold Atlantic churning below. Unthinking, I dove in.
Sometimes, life is like this.