I’ve talked about being a caretaker for my husband Ken who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. In fact, I’ve talked about it so much, I’ve actually learned how to spell Sclerosis and had to create a category for our experiences. And maybe someday, this will be a springboard for a book. I’ve talked about how this horrible disease comes like a thief in the night to take away the man I love.
Because of this disease, our relationship has changed. And I hate it, but my changed role is necessary. I’m a writer by profession and religion, but I’m a caretaker now 24/7. As such, I’ve turned to the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) in our area for some necessary help.
Through that organization, I met a wonderful woman named Marilyn. She calls once a week just to check in on ME. I guess caretakers get lost in the shuffle, and it is her quest to connect with me and help connect me with resources that will benefit both Ken and me.
Yesterday, Marilyn called and said there was a lift chair available, and all I had to do was pick it up. I was thrilled it was offered to us because Ken does have problems getting up and down out of a chair. So, this chair would aid him in his everyday challenges.
When I excitedly told him about the chair, he said, “Where are we going to put it?” You see, he doesn’t want to part with the platform rocker he sits in now, and I think he saw this lift chair as another reminder he needs assistance.
I know he will probably love this chair, so I said, “Maybe Ernie will sit by you more often if you have a different chair.” (Our pug Ernie doesn’t like the rocker because he loses his balance when he attempts to sit on Ken’s lap.) Ken thought about it for a second and said, “Okay.”
So, now the next challenge was to get the chair from its present location to our home. Enter friends. I phoned one of my male friends who has a truck, asked whether he could help me and with no hesitation, Dave said, “Sure, I can help you, Barb. When do you want to do it?” So bright and early on Saturday we will go together to get the chair.
The moral to this story? Let people around you help. I’m not big on support groups, but connecting with people who can actually help is so important. Friends and family see the struggles and most of the time they feel helpless to ease your load. So, when an opportunity comes along when one of them can help, ask them. Life truly does take a village.