Caring for the Caregiver

I’ve received a torrent of e-mail about my previous post that offered a tribute to my wife (in fact, one friend wrote about the post in her blog as well). I appreciate all of your kind thoughts. It’s good to know that people do seem to care, especially when we so often seem to read news stories that tell us the world has become an incredibly uncaring place in which to live. I don’t plan to cover every detail about the journey Rebecca and I traveled, but she was sick for a long time—about 5½ years.

Most of that time I cared for her at home because I work from my house. Even so, it would have been impossible for me to care for her at home if a relatively large group of people hadn’t donated their time and resources to helping me. Caring for the caregiver is something you seldom hear about, but it’s an essential component of making home care of someone who is quite ill possible. A caregiver who is well supported by others can focus attention on the person in need, rather than constantly fending off requests (and requirements) for other needs.

I’m not going to name all of the people who helped me because I’d invariably leave someone out and hurt feelings that I never intended (nor wanted) to hurt. However, the group is relatively large and is made up of friends, family, people from our church, and hospice volunteers amongst others. In fact, some of these people probably helped without my knowing it and never asked for any thanks in return.

There is at least one incident where I know someone helped me and I don’t know who they are. I was in the hospital, waiting for word about my wife’s status, and fell asleep on an incredibly uncomfortable couch (it most assuredly was stuffed with rocks). I remember waking briefly as someone brought a pillow, helped me lay down, and covered me up. They simply said that I couldn’t help my wife if I made myself sick. If I said anything in response, I don’t remember it. I had been up for three days and was exhausted from the ordeal we had been through. I asked the hospital staff the next day about it and no one knew who might have helped me. If you’re that person and you’re reading this post, please accept my grateful thanks long after the help was offered.

My blog focuses quite a lot on self-sufficiency topics. However, no one is an island. Even the most self-sufficient person in the world is going to need help from someone at some time. Rebecca and I have actually received a lot of help over the years from a lot of different people. When our garden failed to produce something we really needed, we were often able to exchange something we had in excess for the item we needed. The act of interacting with others, helping others, meeting people’s needs in small ways is what makes life worth living. So, the next time you read that truly downer story in the newspaper, remember that this blog post exists. There truly is hope. A lot of people have cared for this caregiver in the past and I plan to help others in the future.

 

Author: John

John Mueller is a freelance author and technical editor. He has writing in his blood, having produced 99 books and over 600 articles to date. The topics range from networking to artificial intelligence and from database management to heads-down programming. Some of his current books include a Web security book, discussions of how to manage big data using data science, a Windows command -line reference, and a book that shows how to build your own custom PC. His technical editing skills have helped over more than 67 authors refine the content of their manuscripts. John has provided technical editing services to both Data Based Advisor and Coast Compute magazines. He has also contributed articles to magazines such as Software Quality Connection, DevSource, InformIT, SQL Server Professional, Visual C++ Developer, Hard Core Visual Basic, asp.netPRO, Software Test and Performance, and Visual Basic Developer. Be sure to read John’s blog at http://blog.johnmuellerbooks.com/. When John isn’t working at the computer, you can find him outside in the garden, cutting wood, or generally enjoying nature. John also likes making wine and knitting. When not occupied with anything else, he makes glycerin soap and candles, which comes in handy for gift baskets. You can reach John on the Internet at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com. John is also setting up a website at http://www.johnmuellerbooks.com/. Feel free to take a look and make suggestions on how he can improve it.