Tag Archive | help

Queen For a Day

Once a year the Aging and Disability Resource Center in our town invites care givers to a special luncheon. The theme this year was a “Virtual Cruise.” Having enjoyed at least ten cruises in my lifetime, I wondered how they would carry this off.

The theme was set at the front door when we all were greeted with “Aloha” and a colorful silk lei was put around our necks. Ken was greeted in much the same way, but he would spend his day being cared for by professionals in a different room from where I would spend the outing.

Care givers were ushered down a long hallway where Hawaiian music wafted through a grand ballroom. Large round tables covered in white linen each had a silk star lily centerpiece. We were invited to sip a drink from tall, tropical glasses with paper umbrellas; of course, the rum was left out of the fruity drinks. It was morning, after all; entirely too early for rum. 🙂

From ten until two o’clock about fifty care givers were able to relax and laugh. We also were encouraged to learn about some of the area services available once the care giving mantel gets too heavy. The organizers had a clever way to get us to visit all of the vendors present; we were given a “passport” that needed to be stamped by each vendor as we completed our “worldwide tour.” The passports were then collected for door prize drawings at the end of the day.

Unfortunately I didn’t win a thing, but I did have a nice day out of the house. Our group enjoyed entertainment including teenage dancers, a ventriloquist, and a massage therapist, who gave five-minute chair massages to anyone who wanted one. When it was my turn, I was flabbergasted he found very sore tight muscles on both sides in my shoulder area. I guess I carry more tension than I ever dreamed.

One of the best things about the day was the view. I sat and stared at the beautiful fall color outside the floor to ceiling windows. For some reason, colorful trees just do it for me, you know? The natural beauty reminded me I’m a small cog in a very big machine. When the same humdrum experiences go on day after day, I forget that.

During the ride home, Ken shared he had a good time, too. Two other people he knew from “Harmony Club” — the respite service he attends twice a month — were there. But I never worry about Ken in a social gathering; he’s so congenial he can make friends with anyone.

If you’re a care giver, I encourage you to seek out help from the local Aging and Disability Center in your area.  The hardest thing you’ll do is make phone call. People working in such an organization are caring, empathetic, and helpful. They also help keep things in perspective. They let you know your anger, frustration, and searching for answers are part of the package when you’re a caregiver. They know how to maneuver through the state obstacles and restriction. I’ve found answers to the problems Ken and I encounter as we travel through this MS journey.

Who knows, maybe you’ll have the pleasure of being “Queen for a day” like I did yesterday.

Deadlines Can Kill You, If You Let Them

clock_tickingYesterday I missed blog post. Sorry. My day was full from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. Have you ever noticed that you can go for days without anything happening, and then, BAM! you get a day like I had yesterday. A day that takes you away from all your regular stuff and fills your time with something else.

I’ve always been a steady pacer–like an old plow horse, putting one foot in front of another. If I have a deadline, I think backwards and determine how many days (or hours) I have to get the item completed. I’m happy to tell you; I’ve never missed a deadline of any kind.

So yesterday, I had a series of accomplishments. Dave picked me up bright and early to get the lift chair the ADRC had found for us. It was a nice time with him;we talked about high school days and he took me on a leisurely drive down the back roads through the farming community that is only a few miles from the city. When we got there, I was greeted by a warm, friendly farm dog named Jack, who given half a chance would have jumped in the truck and came home with me. The chair turned out to be beautiful. It was a burgundy color that would coordinate with our existing furniture beautifully. So, the men at the farm loaded the chair into the pick-up and in just a few minutes Dave and I were heading back to my house.

While Dave and I were on our excursion, Ken had moved the existing chair out of its spot, along with the end table and his power wheel chair. How he did all of this, I don’t know. But it was a nice surprise for me because all Dave and I had to do was bring the new chair up the ramp and into the house.

After a cup of coffee and a little more chit-chat with Dave, it was time to clean the house and prepare a nice birthday dinner for my daughter. So, that meant a trip to the grocery store. Now, instead of a plow horse, I had become a pack mule. Hunting and gathering through the store, packing up the groceries, hauling them out to the car, packing them into the car, unpacking them when I got home, and then putting them away–keeping out the things I needed to start dinner. Whew!

Finally, it was on to cooking. The part I really love. The part that always gives me compliments once everyone sits down at my table. But like any deadline, I had to plan to get it all done by 5 p.m.

The outcome? The food was good (of course), the visit was fun (we hadn’t seen Sarah since Christmas) and everything got done on time and on schedule. But after I sat down and started to relax, guess what? Yeah. I started yawning. I guess the ol’ gray mare ain’t what she used to be.

But all in all, it was a great day. The weather was a sunny 68 degrees–a welcomed change from all the rain we’ve had this spring. Once again a friend came to the rescue and helped me. We had a wonderful dinner and visit from a girl woman I love more than my own life, and then a welcoming comfortable bed to rest my weary bones.

So even though the day was a deviation from the norm, was a lot of work, it was a wonderful day.

Thanks for reading.

Barb