Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Thoughts on Caregiving and Taking Care

Since many of you have asked, both in comments and off blog, I wanted to give an update on Rick after the surgery and offer some thoughts about caregiving and taking care.  It's a topic I thought I knew something about -- but I realized my knowledge left much to be desired!

My version of a tutorial done by Life Imitates Doodles at Doodlewash

My mom died when I was 25. I lived locally but not at home and although I visited frequently, I didn't really have a lot to do in the caregiving role. That fell Dad, who took her to appointments in town and at Mayo, picked her up off the floor when she'd faint after the brain tumor took hold and handle the cooking, cleaning and home care. And that was while he was still working.

At the hospital during Mom's last few weeks

When dad was ill, I was older but working full time. After we sold the house he moved into an apartment near my office and not far from home and while I took him places and helped out at the apartment, he was still relatively independent, doing his own shopping and for some time, even driving. It was caring and taking care, but not what I'd call hard core caregiving. Then he was in assisted living where someone else did the heavy lifting.

So, while I understood it emotionally, I didn't really get the whole thing in the way I do now.

Compared to the dilemmas so many people face medically that affect them physically, mentally or both, Rick's broken leg wasn't exactly at the top of the life threatening list -- until the blood clots came along. Then the game changed, the anxiety increased. The leg itself has been been frustrating, annoying, a nuisance, and following the surgery, quite painful. It has stopped him in his tracks and he doesn't like to be stopped in his tracks. A period of true adjustment.

For me, it was caregiving. Maybe not the intense caregiving I know some of you have done in the past. But more than what I had experienced before.

I felt that my job as caregiver included:
  • Making sure he ate well
  • Making sure the house was safe -- no throw rugs or obstacles
  • Making sure he got to appointments and if requested (and he did) taking good notes
  • Keeping the house tidy. Maybe tidier than usual.
  • Keeping the anxiety down or at least supporting as much as one can when it raises its ugly head.

For those of you who have only recently started reading Marmelade Gypsy, Rick and I aren't married. We've been together 23 years and spend loads of time together but we live about three blocks apart. This is a wonderful situation in most ways -- we have our space, our schedules, our time together and our time to crash and do our own thing. It's not everyone's gig, but it's worked for us.

But as I was taking care of Rick -- keeping his house tidy, cooking meals I probably wouldn't normally  be eating myself and going back and forth to feed Lizzie and crash into bed at night, I realized I wasn't doing a great job of taking care of me.

And maybe I was taking a little bit too good care of Rick, at least in the pre-surgery days.

This has been a hard injury for him. Now granted, he's had numerous skull fractures and head injuries in his cycling days, MRSA, pneumonia, quite the list! But he's never really come to terms with the possibility of aging or mortality before, at least not in such a real way. That this happened because of something as uncomplicated as a fall on the ice is a bit hard to wrap our heads around.

I was so worried about him, I fear I crowded a bit. We had a mutual friend who died from blood clots and leaving him alone was difficult, as we both remembered that life can end in an instant, even when you least expect it. I wanted to be sure he had what he needed, when he needed it, so that he could concentrate on doing the things he could and getting the rest he needed.

After being down for close to three weeks (the week prior to his surgery) he said, "You need to take the day off." He made breakfast on a Sunday morning. He started to manage his own breakfasts and lunches.

I think I'd been hovering a little too much. He didn't need reminders about taking his pill or using his crutches on wet surfaces. He just wanted to be normal and regain some of the independence he so values. There's love and there's overdoing it.

My friends repeatedly told me to take care of myself, too, and I thought I was. While he napped, I would read or pick up the kitchen or plan meals. Of course, I'd never really planned meals before.

Yup. At my age. Weekends we always eat together, sometimes during the week. But we have week-lives. He rides his bike or has music practice; I might have things on my calendar too. My typical dinner is a sandwich, salad or soup -- maybe a combo, maybe a Lean Cuisine. It was definitely not Rick food, which usually involved potatoes and meat or pasta.

You learn. I learned to make more chicken thighs than we needed so he would have lunch the next day. The same with pasta or chili. It's not that I'm a bad cook -- I'm not. But I'm not a big cook. Yes, I learned.

Eventually, I would leave his house earlier, head home to watch a mystery, read or make felties. I would spend mornings at the computer or painting before heading over for lunch. I snugged with Lizzie. My house was still a mess but my head was becoming clearer.

That changed after the surgery, which was Monday. We checked in at 12:30 and a couple of hours later he went in, the doc coming out maybe 90 minutes after to say it went all right. Huge relief! But it took him a long time to come back after the anesthetic. We didn't get home till around 9 or so in the evening and we were both whipped.

Since, it's been a matter of laying very low. The pain has begun to set in and with it the sheer sense of "how in the world can I possibly get from the bed to the bathroom?" feeling. There was a stumble that scared us both but fortunately the doc said not to worry on it when we called him the night it happened.  I've been "down the street" now for 24/7. We've watched Marx Brothers movies, travel videos and eaten healthy food. Our spring activities aren't what we planned on but they are what we have. And so, it goes.

Yesterday Rick said "Bring Lizzie down to stay," so we came with litter box and food. She proceeded jump onto the counter (I didn't even know she could jump that high!), crawl into every cupboard or closet that had an opening, hide in the boiler room and climb up in the crawl space for the electrical wiring. I've put up more barricades than in "Les Mis." (She appears to have settled, though she got so freaked with Rick's crutches she hissed at both of us!)

Today -- two days after surgery -- is his worst yet or as he described it, "the nadir of this experience -- at least I hope so." I hope so too -- it hurts to see such pain and a person I don't know like the "I can take on anything" Rick. But we're settling in and I think after a day or two out, things will get a little better. There will still be frustration and I'm sure some pain but perhaps both will lessen. Lots of prayers for full healing going out!

I have so much to pay "back" by helping others who needed what we did. A number of wonderful friends brought dinner. Most of the time they would stay to eat with us, which was a great break in his action and good for him to see someone other than me. Another brought two meatloaves, so we'd have one for the freezer. Packages arrived with wonderful treats from a friend in Hawaii that we have never met face-to-face. Others sent restaurant cards so I could pick up food at Panera or Red Lobster. Our friend Mark sat with me in the surgical lounge. And we have received many greetings, comments, and good wishes -- many of which are from you.

I realized how much that means -- not just to me but especially to Rick, knowing that people are there and caring and want to help.

So, if you're still reading this, I want to thank you, too. So many of you have sent email, notes or written in comments words of concern and support for Rick. He sees them all and it means a great deal. Some of you have even sent cards directly to him and that pleased him no end.

Our lives are richer for this experience in many ways.

Sharing with:    Best of the Weekend   


Becca said...

You are definitely in a “teabag” stage right now, friend. (You know that saying that goes a woman is like a teabag, you never know how strong syenis is until you put her in hotwater.)
If it’s any consolation, you have worlds of company among your fellow baby boomer!
We send caring thought ps to you and Rick.

Joanne Huffman said...

Thanks for the update. I really sympathize with Rick (last summer I broke my ankle in the mundane way of slipping on a wet kitchen floor) and you (caretaing is often not easy). Sending lots of love to both of you. Mobility=independence; it's a big adjustment.

Sally Wessely said...

Wow. What an account. You have both had so many adjustments to make. As with all of your blog posts, this one is also full of multi-layers. You capture your history as a caregiver so well. As a side note, I was struck by how beautiful your mother looked and how put together she was. And, I was struck again by how she has been gone from you for so long.

You and Rick have such a unique and special relationship. As you said, it might not work for all, but it works for you. I remember joking with Jim that an apartment across the street from our backyard might be perfect for him after he retired. We even had an gate at the back of the yard that would allow him easy access to the house and the apartment. ‘

I’m glad you have realized that self-care is important during these days of caring for others. I see so much love, and understanding of each other’s needs in this post. It speaks of such respect for each person in the relationship while honoring each other’s needs and space. The adjustments you have made during this time are really quite remarkable.

Please give Rick my best. I think of him often, and of you. I too am sending healing thoughts and prayers your way. Hugs X 2

Preppy Empty Nester said...

What a beautiful post, Jeanie!! Caregiving is not for Sissies.
Rick is so lucky to have you. I wish Rick a speedy recovery.

Lisbeth said...

Dear Jeanie, am travelling and just now read this. What a trauma. I am happy that everything has gone well and that Rick is recovering. It must have been worrying for both of you. But the situation seems to have been settled with Lizzie and all!

I did not know about your living arrangement. I think it is a wonderful idea. I think relationships lasts longer that way.

All the best and hope you can cope with the situation. Sometimes life takes over, and we can just flow with it.

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Oh my friend, how hard this is on you both. I've been care taking my Mom for a few years now and I know the stress it brings. I'm not good at 'self care' but have had to make myself do that in order to survive this very hard period of my life. Sending prayers and well wishes to both of you. Hugs!

Katie Mansfield said...

I somehow missed that Rick was injured. I hope that he is on the mend now after surgery and you can get back into a somewhat normal routine. Prayers for you both.

bobbie said...

Thank you for the update on Rick ~ still sending gentle healing vibes his way.
Be gentle with yourself ~
Hugs ~

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Hi Jeanie
I never knew about your living arrangement with Rick! I'm sure that made the situation even more stressful for you both in the beginning, but it sounds like you both made the best of it and you both made the adjustments that you needed to while Rick needed extra care and attention.
I am a retired RN, so I know how much care many conditions require -- much more than most people realize! It was so good that you were so helpful to Rick and also that he had good supportive friends around too.
Now that surgery is complete you'll still be helping Rick, but it is during a healing process, and each day will bring more relief to him and allow you to go back to having some more time to yourself. The cliche "one day at a time" is really so true! Healing can't be rushed, but the goal is atainable, and I hope these caretaking days will bring your love and friendship even closer.

Terra said...

Wow, this has been a long ordeal. Happily there is healing going on and a full recovery in sight. You are coping very well, I must tell you.

Miss Val's Creations said...

I am so happy to hear Rick is ok Jeanie! Blood clots are so scary on top of the injury. Rick is lucky to have you by his side. Lizzie is lucky too now being able to hang out with both of you together. Your living situation makes perfect sense to me since I met my husband later in life. We like our separate space. It think it adds another level of healthiness to a relationship. Thank you for sharing your story. This can be really helpful for others being a caregiver.

Toni said...

My heart is with you. Care-taking is a bit of a limbo and difficult in so many ways. Thinking about you.

Valerie-Jael said...

I'm sure it's loots of hard work, but together you will gst throqugh it. Look after yourself! That's important. Hugs, Valerie

Lowcarb team member said...

Many thanks for the update.
Continued healing thoughts and prayers for both Rick and you Jeannie.
It's certainly a time of adjustment and my thoughts are with you.

All the best Jan

R's Rue said...


Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Jeanie, it is not easy being a caregiver, regardless of the extent of the job. As I have been on the "other" side just know that when you don't feel appreciated like you think you should, don't take offense as you must know that you are always appreciated. Hope that makes sense. Blood clots are a scary business and an unknown when they are present. The results of most surgeries are very painful and once that settles down things will be easier. It is really important for you to take your time for yourself and you will both be the better for it..Take care..xxoJudy

Joyful said...

Jeanie, you and Rick have been through so much these past weeks. It is a hard adjustment especially as you say when one has never examined the possibility of mortality before. I've gone through it as have many others. My heart and thoughts are with you both as Rick continues to heal. Thank you for being you and being such a support to Rick. I'm glad too that you are making attempts to look after yourself. Care giving can be all consuming and it is so difficult to get that happy balance, sometimes impossible depending on the situation. But care givers do need to try so they don't burn out. I'm also happy that you have so many good friends around you both that have stepped in to help share the burden. Hugs and good thoughts and prayers. xx

Barb said...

We've been thinking of Rick and hoping the surgery went well. Thank you for the update. I think both Rick and Bob are accustomed to being independent and doing what they love to do. When that has to be curtailed during healing, it is not easy. Being married over 52 years, it seems I still didn't understand fully how much Bob dislikes "hovering" behavior. I think I wore myself out and was driving him crazy. Luckily, we communicate well, so he finally said, "Stop it already!" We can love and care for someone but still give them space to make their own decisions. I cringe at the thought of Rick's pain - I hope each day brings relief (for both of you...). Get outside, Jeanie. Walk and breathe the fresh air. Sending you both healing thoughts and hugs. (Snowing here...AGAIN.)

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

You're doing better than you think you are. It's a hard adjustment to become a caregiver over night and the good news is Rick's leg will get better after what I'm guessing will be a long recovery period once rehab starts in.

I don't know if you know this but Don and I had the exact, same arrangement for many years before we got married. Only we lived a mile apart, so I understand 100% how it can be a great way for a couple to live. We got married when it became necessary for him to have a full time caregiver. Legally it just made sense since we were both giving up our homes to live together.

Sketchbook Wandering said...

Dear Jeanie,
I didn't realize that you all were going through this as I haven't been present in blogland for awhile. Your honest and heartfelt account of what you all are going through warmed my heart. Yes, being a caregiver and dealing with pain, both are challenging...I think caregiving strengthens bonds. It does help when there is a strong relationship already in place. Living arrangements, it's great to be of an age when they don't have to conform to society's expectations, but are based on individual needs.

Glad you are being reminded to take time out for you, and I send best wishes to you both for good healing.

Sketchbook Wandering said...

PS More thoughts: I love the way your graphics added a lightness to your experience...They spoke to me of balance...
I think your father must have been a hero of sorts...

and, I'm not sure what you said about ice, but my response was: Falling on ice is no small thing...Every winter with ice there are injuries, and you don't even have to be older for them to be serious...I know from my own experience...

William Kendall said...

Actually I didn't know about your living arrangement!

I hope the recovery process is smooth from here on out.

Lynne said...

I appreciated your honest, thoughtful, informative post on care giving . . .
and on not having been a care giver and the today full onslaught.
It has given me some thoughts on, “what would Lynne do”
and some wondering about, “what would Mister Irish do?”

Viewing pain and the personal “feel”:of pain are certainly different.
Yet there is some ”walking along together” as well.

I hope each day brings each of you closer to “how it was BEFORE the slip on the ice.”
I wish it hadn’t happened . . .
Happy it didn’t happen in London . . .

Wishing you both better days, with less pain, ease on caregiving
plus laughter, hopefulness and a “light at the end of the tunnel” for sure!

Sending hugs and love Jeanie and Rick . . .

Jenny Woolf said...

This is a wonderful and, yes, an inspirational post, Jeanie. You are dealing with a very difficult situation in such a brave and constructive way. I feel confident that Rick will make a good recovery - he has kept himself extremely fit, he knows what it is to push himself physically and will fight to get back to full function, there is no doubt about that. To have known someone who died as a result of blood clots must be scary, though, and I can understand the wish to "hover" in the circumstances. Of course the time will pass and these anxious moments too, but our thoughts are with you both. Your graphics are perfectly chosen - they convey a constructive message, and not a depressing one, and will give support to others who are facing the
issues that you have both been managing.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

After reading your post, Jeanie, and then also reading all the comments preceding my own, there is little to add. I agree with previous commenters that you did go above and beyond in explaining your own experience with not being a totally hands-on caregiver to suddenly becoming one in the wake of Rick's injury. It was good to read that the surgery went well and that you are able to back off a bit in the sense of getting some rest for yourself. In a short time, I will be having cataract surgery and my spouse, Patrick, has said he would "wait" on me and I may just let him 🙂 at least for a little while realizing that my procedure is not in the same category as Rick's. not by a very long shot. The best to you both.

Marilyn Miller said...

Wow! What a good care giver you are and I love your living situation. Wish Rick best wishes and healing. I know he is imagining places to go and things to do.
Love your paintings too.

My name is Erika. said...

Nursing is tough work. I've had to nurse my husband and I can't say I like it. But that doesn't mean you don't do it. It does test a relationship, but also helps them too. Hoping Rick's pain subsides quickly and he gets back up on his feet soon. And you take care of yourself too Jeanie. You don't do anyone any good if you don't. But I am sure you know that or have heard that a lot. Hugs-Erika

Sandra said...

Caregiving is certainly not for the faint of heart. Sounds like you are doing a wonderful job. I'm sure Rick is thankful to have you.

Sending warm wishes for healing, peace of mind and energy your way.


coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Well you've both been through the wringer! Tell Rick there is life after blood clots! I had a DVT many years ago and have never had one since. He just has to watch if he has any future surgeries, as he will need blood thinners as a follow up. (In my case, anyway).
Recovery after his surgery will also happen. There's something about that six week time frame. So many people experience a lovely realization after six weeks that they are doing much better. (Maybe even sooner!). Hang in there.
Your details about how your cat explored Rick's house made me think of how I get kids to learn prepositions. I say they are anywhere a cat can go (up, in, down, between, beside...) -Jenn

Susan Kane said...

Oh. Caregiving is definitely for the faint of heart as others have written already. God has given you more than you know to move you both to each step.

35 yrs ago, after the birth of my 3rd baby by c-section, a clot developed in left long saphenous vein right at the knee. So from Dec. 31 to Feb. 12, I was immobilized, on blood thinner. Two preschoolers and a newborn. My m-in-law was there every morning.

God gave me more than I could ever know even when I didn't know it.

I will be praying for you. I promise.

DUTA said...

Caring for another person requires effort and sacrifice, but it's worth it.
I remember my parents being opposite in character which led to many quarrels. After they retired, they became like doves and took care of each other in a way that astonished me. They just realized the importance of being there for one another.

Blondie's Journal said...


I have been so out of the loop in blogging that I didn't know what happened to Rick. And as a new-ish follower, no clue on your living arrangements. This is obviously a huge issue in the physical and mental dynamic you are facing. I feel for you. We could spend days discussing our predicaments. They are quite similar and since you commented on my last post, You know my hubby is having major health issues. These have been going on since 2012 when he was diagnosed with colon cancer. He's been five years cancer free and we are so blessed. But the complications and side effects of his surgery, issues and recent problems with his pain, and many more things I won't publish. But please know, I give it my all. And then there are times I absolutely lose it, yell and scream for him to take some time to take care of me. So like you, I tend to retreat to my own semblance of life without total obligations to others. For me it is my lakehouse. I know there are some people who wonder why I go away alone for weeks at a time. I've been married 33 years and I never lost my enjoyment of my own company. I grew up with 6 siblings. We shared rooms, beds, clothes, secrets, and a lot of times, anger and jealousy. Then I married, had four kids by the time I was thirty, and never a moment to myself. I know many women love the empty nest and dive into that wonderful world of being alone with their spouses at last. I haven't. He hasn't. We do okay apart. There's a lot to more to this, but please know, sister, we are very much on the same path.

Hang in there.

Jane x

Sami said...

I can imagine being a caregiver is not easy at all, but you are doing a wonderful job.

My Mom is 82,very active and healthy, but needs a knee replacement and is putting it off because she can't stand being quiet for 6 weeks or so, and also the fact that she thinks my Dad who is 87, but also healthy won't have the ability to look after her during the recovery period. Since they only have one of my sisters living close by but she works full time, it's not easy!
Poor Lizzie, I don't think I could take my 3 cats anywhere, they stress if I pick them up to take to the vet, so we just go if really necessary.

Wishing Rick all the best and a speedy recovery. Not easy to be sick when you are an active person like he is. All the best to you Jeanie, take care as well :)

Iris Flavia said...

Oh, Jeanie. You were way too young to loose your Mom! I´m so sorry!
My "little" Brother asked me to help with both, Mom and Dad, and I am glad in the aftermath as we also laughed with them in these bad hours and weeks.
(Oh, you do take after your Mom :-)...)

I agree, anxiety is the most horrible task. Sometimes I was at work thinking "what if Ingo is cold when I come back", like.. lifeless. And yes. You don´t take care of yourself enough in these times - but you should to be strong.

My Brother had a long talk with me yesterday that I´m always too afraid something might happen to Ingo again (chronically sick) and yes. I cannot change that.
I understand what you are going through.
Seeing your loved one in pain. Glad there were such caring friends!
Back then I could tell nobody but far away online friends, otherwise I´d broken down.
Fingers crossed Rick can ride his bike soon.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Jeanie,

Thanks for the update on Rick! You are doing a wonderful job, being a caregiver is hard work. I only did it part time with my mother and father, thanks to my siblings. It is hard running between two houses, I hope you are taking good care of yourself along with taking care of Rick. Prayers, well wishes for Rick. Hugs to you!
Wishing you a happy day!

La Table De Nana said...

Good wishes..for healthy healing.
I hope and pray he gets perfectly back to his old self..
People who have to live in pain..well it changes them..most bobos go away..some are cured..some managed..some stay.Sounds like Rick is on a great path.
Your art is the best therapy for you evah..

Sent you a quickie email a few weeks ago..I think it may be in your spam..
Take care,both of YOU:)

Liz@ HomeandGardeningWithLiz said...

I can imagine how hard it is for Rick to go through this healing process being he’s normally an active person. I think it sounds like you were/are doing a superb job of taking care of him. Take care of yourself and in good time things will improve.

The French Hutch said...

Jeanie, Like you, I have never had to do hard core caregiving. Ours was appointments and shopping and helping with the household etc. I guess when something happens, and we all know lives can change in an instant with an accident we do what is necessary and learn. Stress most definitely! You and Rick are so fortunately to have one another. I know this particular accident and leaving Rick with the broken leg is hard for him since he was so active and a cyclist. He's in great shape so that will be easier on him and hopefully let him heal and get back to normal more quickly. Keeping you both in thoughts and prayers. Tell your Rick, thoughts and good wishes are sent from me. And, dear Jeanie, remember you can't help Rick if you don't tack care yourself...........

Bonnie said...

I'm so sorry Rick is in pain and his life and yours have changed. I'm hoping and will pray healing will come quickly.
Sounds like you have many caring friends for support.

Victoria Zigler said...

This is a fantastic post! Yes, the carer needs to remember to take care of themselves too.

I'm glad Rick's surgery went OK, and hope he improves quickly.

Mary Rose's said...

This post? Wow --

Your honesty.
Your understanding of Rick's POV and your own.
23 years of love and togetherness.
You're both going to be okay - heck, you already ARE okay, but it's rough weather for sure.

Wish I could be there to run errands, offer respite.
I'm sending my hope for brighter, less freighted days for you both.
And much love, my friend.

Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

WOWZA!! I have so much to say!! As a professional "caretaker" ( nurse) for over 40 years, it does take a toll on you and more so when it is for a loved one.... Several years ago, Joe had hundreds ( the Dr. asked to take pics and do an article on Joe) of plantar warts both lasered and surgically cut off BOTH of his feet at the same time...He had to learn to walk with a walker which did not go well.... He had to sit and not constantly walk around the house which he does all the time and I had to do the food shopping which I have not done the whole time we were married ( 40 years). This is when I learned how darn picky he was with brands and what not. He is a picky eater and most of the time I cook for him and then eat like you described the way you eat.....He fell last year on the ice and broke a rib and his wrist....He thinks that when you take a pain pill, it will get rid of the pain completely!! NOT!!! As I am sure Rick knows...He also thinks that things heal immediately!!! Drove me nuts!!!
Now I have had 2 major surgeries with the last one being abdominal surgery to repair 4 hernias...Joe tends to hover over me....I can not stand that....I had to yell at him and send him home after my hernia surgery because he was sitting there staring at me!! He took a week off and did that the whole week!! I was thrilled when he went back to work.
Now with my knee replacement coming up shortly, I know he will be hovering as he took the first week off...I will be sleeping downstairs so I can take care of myself and not bother him at night...
You do need to take care of yourself and you also need to encourage Rick to be as independent as possible. Take it from a former Rehab Nurse!!
Rick, I wish you a speedy recovery and I also know how you are feeling dealing with not being able to do everything you did before..But this will pass...I will be in the same boat 2 1/2 weeks from now....
Jeanie, thanks so much for all your visits!!

Olka said...

23 years of pure love! That's a lot :)
I'm not very religious, but I'll keep my fingers crossed for both of you! I hope Rick will get better soon :)

Kitty said...

Dear Jeanie, A phone call is on the way but I came across this blog on my way! Rick asked for funny stories to cheer him up so I got some suggestions from the group I met with this morning. You are such a trooper taking care of him like you are.
God bless you and continue to give you the peace and strength to get through this. Love toyou both.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

It means so much to have someone that cares so much about you and also those that support you in your efforts. I'm keeping Rick in my prayers for a speedy and full recovery and I'm here for you with whatever you need sweet friend. You've helped and encouraged me so much are the best friend to have! It's hard to get older and have to accept that you can't do everything you want to do and that our bodies take longer to heal. I'm sending you both lots of hugs, Diane

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Dear Jeanie, my heart goes out to you both. Such difficult days. The good thing is the surgery is behind you and each day will gradually get better. But, I well understand how hard it is for you to see Rick in pain. It is dreadful to see anyone in pain, let alone anyone you care deeply about.

I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Life will be good again, this is just a bump in the road. Hugs, my friend.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

My goodness, Jeanie, I'm so sorry all that you and Rick are going through! I'm sure he is thankful to have such a caring partner by his side when it's needed. I do hope he has a better day soon. It can be so discouraging recovering from such trauma. I do hope you will continue to take care of YOU. That's difficult when the one you care so much for the one that is hurting. Take time whenever you can to nurture your heart and soul. xo

Jams said...

What an ordeal for both of you. I do know how hard it is to take care of yourself when in the midst of caregiving. I'm so sorry that you're both going through this, and so sorry that Rick is having to endure so much pain. It takes a toll. H is much like Rick, he is a can-do kind of guy, and it's very hard for that kind of guy to be out of commission. H and I are wishing you the best. You're are in our thoughts.

BB said...

Of course, you know that's me up there in the last comment. I forgot *again* to fill in my name and URL. :/

Lynn Proctor said...

Caregiving is a tough thing for sure- I've had a fair amount of experience with it -- I've also had a dvt-- very serious and scary-- blessings of healings wished for you

krishna said...

Wishing for his speedy recovery. You please take care of yourself dear..

Karen said...

I hope things keep improving day by day. Pretty soon the weather will be good and maybe you both can be outdoors for awhile to enjoy it.
Best wishes for a speedy recovery Rick.........and you girlie, take care of yourself. K.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Bless you, dear Jeanie and thanks for the update, too. I remember when Sally had her first knee replaced, I had to go around and make a path through her home. I got rid of all rugs, and stacked things for when she came home and couldn't really take care of herself for the first few days. I cooked for her (she is a meat eater, so I cooked for her, not me), scooped her cats' poop, waited on her and made her bed. I put her dishes in the dishwasher and cleaned like their was no tomorrow. Then I went home and did the same for myself. Although her operations weren't as life threatening as Rick's, I always worried that she would fall because of all the clutter in her home. Thankfully, she was motivated to get well, which helped.

My mother (who I didn't know all that well, since my grands raised me from birth) died from a blood clot that had originally gathered in the leg, traveled through the heart, then lodged at the base of her brain. She died instantly. I was 17 and my grandmother said NO parent should outlive their children. I'm glad to read that Rick is doing better, even though there is pain. Better pain than the ulterior. You are a saint, dear.

Sketchbook Wandering said...

Jeanie, as always, thanks for your thoughtful note on my blog...I will write to you soon...More to say...Hang in there...healing is happening!

The Dutchess said...

Sending you strength and blessings dearest Jeannie..X

Regina said...

Jeanie I've discovered for me that it is easier to care for someone else than it is me to receive care. I don't know why. Praying for a speedy recovery for Rick.

Pam said...

Caregiving is not an easy task to take on. Important thing is to take care of yourself also. You will not be able to care for him if you are well. Hoping for a BIG FAST recovery for Rick.

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

I just want to wish you well! You have been such a wonderful support. I hope you keep taking good care of yourself! Best wishes for a speedy return to health for Rick!

carol@The Red Painted Cottage said...

Jeanie, This is tough for sure. I've never been a full-time caregiver, but I did help out my mother in the last few months of caring for my sister who was dying from ALS. I know from so many others that caring for yourself is almost more important than caring for the ill person. If you're not in tip-top shape, you will not be able to continue caregiving without it drastically affecting your health. Wishing you the best, my friend!

Anonymous said...

Jeanie, God bless you for all patience and kind care. I pray your husband is better soon and that you rest well!

I need orange said...

Sending you both good vibes as you work through this set of challenges!

Do keep taking care of yourself. It's like they say before an airplane flight -- "adjust your own mask before helping others."


Karen @ Beatrice Euphemie said...

Sending hugs, encouragement, healing thoughts and prayers, courage and hope. Caregiving is always challenging because of the uncertainty and worry, not to mention the long hours. You get so tired and forget to take care of yourself and need to take a step back and realize you won't do anyone any good if you end up sick and exhausted. So sorry this has happened and hopefully this brings you both closer together and will be something to look back on as just a glitch in a wonderful future. My son snapped his Achilles tendon last fall and even though he is young - the depression and anxiety of it all took a toll on his emotions. It's not only a physical injury, but also a mental one, so it's important to take care that you keep the spirits up, too. So glad that you are getting some support from friends. Take care, my dear. I'll be thinking of you both as you heal from this trauma. Hugs xo Karen

Susie said...

Jeanie, I am so very sorry, I did not know you and Rick were having such a time of it. I have been so caught up in Ted and I's situation that I have not been visiting everyone. I am praying for you and Rick. I do not like being caregiver. I love Ted with all my heart and do what I can. But you can not take care of everything, the loved one and matter how many times people tell you too. I feel so tired. I am praying for you to be able to stay strong . Blessings to you both , xoxo, Susie

Rita C at Panoply said...

Woah, this is a journey! Glad the seemingly worst is over for Rick's plight, and that he can now focus on the rehabilitation while you learn a better sense of balance. It's hard. I watched my 30 yo niece who broke her ankle last year go through the frustration of rehabbing with 2 surgeries (one to mend and insert hardware, the second one to remove the pesky plates and screws almost 5 mos later). It's a fact that as we age we must be more in tune with the hazards in our homes and surroundings. I have certainly learned some things over the past several yrs with Mr. P, which led to our choice to downsize now, and leaving me with no regrets (maybe only that we had done it a yr or sooner due to the shear stress of purging, organizing and packing. Even this process has taught me that self-care is critical, Jeanie!). Wishing you both the best in the weeks to come.

Nikki - Notes of Life said...

It's a bit of a learning curve, but if you don't take care of yourself then you'll be no good for caring for someone else. Eventually it wears you down if you don't take time for yourself.

I hope Rick is on the mend now!

Red Rose Alley said...

I'm so sorry Rick has been in so much pain. He has the best person taking care of him, giving him the attention and care that is needed during this difficult time. Saying a prayer for his healing, and strength and comfort for you, Jeanie.


tartan lover said...

Jeanie, Thanks for the link to this post. I haven't been keeping up as I have had company and a number of other life issues. I was worried about you and Rick after I read some replies on twitter. I am glad the surgery was successful, but I am so sorry for the aftermath (and the first 3 wks)for both of you. I know you will both adjust and find ways to wrap ur minds around things and find ways to take care of yourselves. I am learning self care too after a major traumatic event a little over a year ago. I just read an article that said self care isn't a luxury, but a discipline and a necessity. It is boring things like... saying no to doing something you really don't want to do, enforcing boundaries, and taking care of yourself by eating right etc. This made a big impact on me. I see that you are trying to do that already. I do a lot of things to try and bring me joy which are important too, but I was lacking in the boring kind of self care. Thought maybe u might like to hear it put that way too. It takes a bit to get the hang of it. I am still trying. I wish I lived near you so that I could give you a day off. Rick is lucky to have you to take care of him. I will send hugs and prayers and warm healing fuzzies for both of you. I still think you are just as cute as a pixie and have such a beautiful smile. I know that smile and cherfulness will help get you through. Thanks for sharing about your life. I love reading about it and hope to catch up on the ones I missed soon. Xoxo

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I'm glad that the surgery is behind you and I hope the pain subsides very quickly. You have been through a lot! Being a care taker can be difficult. I actually don't have much personal experience with it. But I needed a lot of care when I had hip surgery 3 years ago. But unlike Rick, I didn't need any help leading up to the surgery so it wasn't quite of a long bought of care-taking like it was for you! That said, I moved in with Phil on a Friday and had surgery on Monday... so we went from having separate homes and lots of independence to me being super dependent on him. Phil was only home on the day of the surgery but had to return to work the next day. Luckily my mom came down for the day so she could take me to PT and help out with meals. I had to learn to ask for and accept help during that recovery!

And then I needed a lot of help when I had my blood clot during my pregnancy. Less fell on him during that but there was definitely way more anxiety with that stupid blood clot. So I can relate to how worried you were about Rick!

I'm thinking of you both! Continue to take time for yourself! That's important!!

Anca said...

I missed the post about his surgery. I'm glad he is better now. xx

shoreacres said...

Oddly, the first thing that caught my attention about this post was the photo of your mom and dad at the top. Somehow I've missed seeing how much you and your mother resemble one another! I think you resemble her in some other, more important, ways than appearance, too. You certainly have the ability to care for others, and to do it well -- even though the temptation to "overcare" can be there from time to time.

I've never had such a traumatic injury, but I can well imagine what a trial it is for Rick. Being such an active person, being forced not just to slow down but to come to a complete stop has to have been a terrible experience. It's good to know that things are improving, if slowly. Time doesn't heal, but it certainly allows healing to happen. Here's to more of that good healing in the days to come!

Mary K. said...

I am writing this a little late Jeanie but I hope Rick has made a full recovery or at least is feeling a bit more independent. It can be very frustrating for people who are used to doing things on their own to have downtime. Praying for both of you and wishing him a speedy recovery and you a much-needed rest.

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