I already caught an error! I linked to this page instead of my landing page. So since you landed here from the Write31days page, the link you need for the month is here. I deeply apologize for the inconvenience!
Welcome to 31 DAYS OF CARE TAKING: ONE DAY AT A TIME. This is designed for caretakers and their loved ones. This was not a series I planned to write or planned to need to write. But like many of you, I found myself sitting in an ER with my husband after he had a stroke in 2015, then two years later, a second and a third. (Yes, this has been a busy year!)
This was not a series I planned to need to write. But like many of you, I found myself sitting in an ER with my husband after he had a stroke. Click To Tweet
I’m also an RN who worked as a rehab nurse the last 5 years before I retired in 2013. I learned a lot about strokes and their aftercare along with other ailments treated in rehab. Although I hoped I wouldn’t be faced with being on the other side of the treatment “fence,” I was realistic enough to know that it was very likely to happen someday and it did!
Ron’s first stroke hit two years after we retired and moved to a new part of the country
Two years after I retired in 2013, Ron had his first stroke. We had only lived here in Alabama a scant 2 years. It helped me along the way that I had my rehab background, but I underestimated the daze of weariness and shock I was in as the wife of a family member. I also underestimated the depression that would overwhelm me over his first year of recovery as I adjusted to his new normal and my new roles. The depression came on me so insidiously that I wasn’t prepared at all for it. I didn’t realize how truly awful it was until it started lifting after I started attacking it with better health and behavior habits.
I needed to function well in more areas than I had before the stroke and instead, my mind was in a fog with details overwhelming me and a future that looked hopeless and overwhelming! Over that year, I had to learn how to manage all our finances…a truly overwhelming task on many levels! There were many areas that we had learned to work together over the years in small ways and now, I was unable to count on Ron in crucial areas. The loss was huge. I was deep in the throes of grief!
How are we doing now?
It is now two years later. I am coming out of both the depression and the overwhelmed feeling. All the problems aren’t solved. He has had two more small strokes this year but I think we have adjusted to his limits better…none of them show to the casual observer. I think that can make it difficult. We are learning to work together better. I’m learning not to listen to the one year rule. It doesn’t tell the whole story.
He is developing early signs of dementia that require more monitoring in areas I didn’t need to before. But saying he has early dementia doesn’t mean he isn’t clear mentally most of the time. The fact is, he has many days that he has been clearer recently than he once was. Lately, there have been some wonderful clear days that we have had some sweet, wonderful talks and connected well! It’s just that I can’t count on it.
I now have to drive all the time…something he is not happy about at all. I’m not either really. He has always been the better driver. More and more responsibility continues to rest on my shoulders. I have to take days to just be quiet at home to catch up and take it easy with no appointments. It seems strange for this extrovert to need that. But I need those quiet days to regroup.
How do I proceed?
Over the next 31 days, I hope to give you some help for the different stages of this process which will affect you in a different order and in different ways than they did me. Except for today, I will take Sundays off. Depending on how much material I have to work with, I may add on at the end to use up the full 31 days…or not! Each day, click on this landing page to find the new entry for the day or simply go to the home page of GrittyGrace.com.
For those of you who haven’t been through a process like this, I hope to share with you ways to have a good support system in place for when something like this happens to you. There is no way to predict when or if it will happen, of course. So we prepare in ways we can and live our lives one day at a time.
But he said to me,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses,
so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with
weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
II Corinthians 12:9-10