Dearest Readers, first and foremost, let me say this is going to be a lengthy, but oh so magical article and, dear readers, what a year this has been! I’ve enjoyed this journey with Karyn Lynn Grant as we shared and educated on joy, love and peace in the mourning.
Each month , especially as the year has progressed, brought challenges for both Karyn and myself which I believe (and I know Karyn feels the same) have only helped in our relating to you insights, guidance and assistance for those who have also faced many challenges that life can bring. It can be so very difficult to find the stamina and the strength to hang tough and get through, especially when there are times when it seems all areas of one’s life are being “attacked” at the same time. It truly can be so overwhelming.
Love, faith, support, believing, getting through the “mourning” for sure and coming out stronger, better, healthier, more knowledgeable and thankful is what is key.
The normal interview process that we have brought you with each article will be taking a bit of a twist this month. This is why. Bare with me as I lead into what has lead to the incredible God touched and guided article this month!
Multiple situations reached peak after over more than a decade of high stress and “life,” overextending to help others without caring enough for myself along the way transpired. Stress levels off the charts and taking its ugly toll as well in many ways. Although each situation was done from my heart and genuinely, it seemed the path I was to take was to be there for others (and not in easy situations) even though my pattern has always been, both personally and professionally, to over deliver, over care… it seemed it was what I was to be doing where God wanted me to be regardless of many consequences to myself. Oh, what I have learned has been amazing.
I am still in a seemingly never ending high pain health challenge all the while also dealing with life necessities we all can relate to. This is what happened and this is why and how this particular and potent article has come to be.
A situation hit and hit hard when in November while I was caring for a dear friend of over 35 years who was, at that time, in a home hospice situation, with myself as the only caregiver, took its debilitating and destructive course. One night shortly after he was home in hospice, he was experiencing great discomfort. I knew that the hospice staff told me that could be expected, but not having this as my first time watching a loved one pass at home and knowing him as well as I did, I knew this wasn’t the type of agitation they see and then start pain incessant meds as a result.
Paul was always very strong constitutionally and physically and that night even though he was in a hospital bed with railings up, eyes closed, he pulled himself up and was trying to get out of bed. He was about midway of his calves out of the bed as he slid to the bottom to try and get out. I figured it was because he thought he needed to go the bathroom. He had a permanent catheter in for some time so this wasn’t a necessity, but it told me there was a problem. I knew something was wrong, but first and foremost I needed to make certain he stayed in bed and didn’t fall. There I was trying to calm him, keep him safe, and yet I knew I needed to get down also to that refrigerator to get those medications I so dreaded (the infamous hospice bag of multiple syringes and medications that were to “keep him comfortable” through the ugliness of each system shutting down as the body tries to reach homeostasis and cannot.
I had drawn an aversion to seeing this process with other loved ones passing this way. What made it worse was I felt that night as though I was going against his will and my own gut because it seemed he needed help not drugged and in fact that is what he needed-help. I called hospice. When the nurse arrived, she found that the recently changed catheter wasn’t fully inserted or … that was why he was indeed “agitated.” The relief after corrected was almost immediate. He was just so much more at peace. How sad. Horrible—unnecessary suffering.
The fact that both he and I also practice(d) alternative healthcare and more natural methods of healing, values, beliefs, knowledge added to the difficulty in administering the high and frequent dosages used with the hospice process. It is not easy for the patient/loved one or the caregiver. Regardless, l knew I had to be the one, since there by myself, to get to the fridge and get those meds.
Keep in mind this seemed like the peak of years of intense caregiving as his family (at least 2 kids) existed, but didn’t exist for him to put it mildly, financially, emotionally …. He was alone and needed help. I was to be here for a few months and it turned out to be over 3 years with all of my belongings in storage to a cost of thousands. I was also dealing with all that falls upon a POA and was dealing with superficial thrombophlebitis of my leg which took every ounce of strength to deal with while I cared for Paul particularly in these last days. It was all I could do to manage my own pain.