Mental Processing

The day had finally come: hearing the results of my mother’s MRI and blood tests. What would be the diagnosis and what are we to do after hearing it? I was so looking forward to this day.

At first it appeared we would get no results, as the neurologist did not have all the information, but eventually his staff obtained the documents and he pulled up the pictures of her brain on his computer. What we saw was simply amazing. It made me realize something: my mother is truly blessed. With all the atrophy of the vessels that lessens the blood flow, with all the lesions that had multiplied in her lobes, with all the “whiteness” of her  brain that shouldn’t be there, it is to me amazing she is not further along in the disease. This is the reason for her lack of short-term memory, while at the same time her long-term memory has not suffered. Bottom line: it is what it is, no need for further tests, and the neurologist told my mother to just enjoy life. Regarding the blood test results, there was no abnormalities; all was within the proper range, and the doctor was impressed giving her age.

I can’t tell you what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this. I am trying to process what I learned from our visit to the doctor which occurred yesterday afternoon, and all I can come up with is what is next? What do I do at this point?

  • Be thankful for what my mother can do. She is still living independently, functioning as she always has, just at a slower pace. I am sure there are caregivers who wish who they cared for could do the same.
  • Take care of myself. As we left the office, the neurologist encouraged me to take care of myself as I am the caregiver, something all caregivers should consider.
  • Get informed. Based on what I viewed on the computer screen with the neurologist, I will research more and try to find more information, so should the time come when health deteriorates and decisions need to be made, I as caregiver will be ready to make the best decision for my mother.

Right now I need to take time to think about everything, mentally process what I learned yesterday, and continue caregiving, praying for guidance every step of the way…and maybe not think too much.



Living in the Key of Patience

Life can be lived in sharp highs and flat lows. If not careful, frustration can set in, that causes us to react, and not in the correct manner. This is particularly true if you are a caregiver.

I admit I like to put things together and fix things. My mother knows that too, and whenever she needs something looked at, I’m her girl. This week I have been her tv repairman.  Every day this week I have moved the tele, trying to get a better picture reception. I have been called at 5:15am as I am getting ready for work, and (though sad to say) this week I have been happy to go to work, thinking I can put my attention to something other than a tv. Nevertheless, calls have been received that the tv doesn’t work, and after work I to her home doing my service call and attempt to fix it. When I get there the stations are off because she has changed it when I told her not to, but she does it anyway, and on and on it goes. One thing is for sure: a caregiver has to live in the key of patience. Here’s why:

Between the two of you, someone has to exhibit patience to keep confusion down to a minimum, and as much as possible keep a harmonic equilibrium of providing for your loved one while at the same time keeping a level of sanity within yourself.

Patience involves the attribute of long-suffering as Paul describes in Ephesians 4, as he:

 “beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering,                                      forbearing one another in love;  Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit,  even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;”

What is your calling? Caring for your loved one, but in a way that hopefully exhibits Christlikeness. And so while I continue to be the tv repairman, I will endeavor to stay in the right key of patience, not going flat with frustration but not being impatiently sharp either,  while showing my mother what God looks like in my action of taking care of her and her tvs.

Whatever you have to do in caring for your loved one, I hope you purpose in your heart to do the same…