Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Slow and steady: not a race

Caregivers and care-takers tend to see themselves living in one of two worlds: the land of optimism, hope and continual improvement; or the land of fear, dread and perpetual decline. Would that it were so simple, so consistent, so definable.

More often, progress is difficult to measure in the short term. Most days are spent stepping in and out of both worlds, gingerly, tentatively, never knowing for sure which course the patient is following, toward which world.

On the same day Bandar walks a good distance and manages to get in and out of the car with little assistance, she may have terrible pain in her back and legs or trouble sleeping and difficulty breathing when exerting herself. To the caregiver who tries to make sense of every little sign, these data points baffle us, confuse us. Is she getting better or worse? we want to know. Now. How can we fix this? Make it better?

And then. When we calm ourselves and step back, we may realize the wisdom of the ages. We can only do so much. The rest is up to a power greater than ourselves. We have to yield control and recognize our own limitations, despite the tremendous responsibility we have assumed.

Recognizing our own limitations and working within them, we can celebrate victories when they come. We can smile, encourage and congratulate. We can observe, assess and consult with doctors and therapists. We can pray for guidance, patience and acceptance.

We need to follow up on medical issues and consult professionals. We have to take care of ourselves and our fellow caregivers. We have to keep expectations in check.

Living one day at a time, we look to completing this day, every day, to live moment to moment. And to do what we can, whatever may be the next right thing.
Bandar is gaining upper body strength and recovering her core muscles. Both her Occupational Therapist, Roberta, and she agree she is stronger, more flexible and has more endurance. She barely wears her rigid back brace, which she had grown dependent on. She can twist and turn her back in ways we couldn't have imagined just three or four weeks ago. Above, she cranks an exercise machine during her Sept. 28 visit to rehab with Roberta, at Metrohealth Hospital.

1 comment:

  1. Steve, you are crazy as hell! That maked me glade to get to know you a little better.Thank you much. Love to you and your Family, James

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