11 Aug Extravagant Care
The Caregiver’s Story…
By Walter Smith – Lead Pastor, SCW Presbyter
September 29, 2012—7:12AM… The men’s fellowship meeting was into the second worship chorus. My wife Lynn texted me—her blood pressure was dropping- rapidly. Usually my cell phone is turned off during men’s meetings, but that Saturday morning was different. It was on vibrate. I rushed home to find my wife in adrenal crises. We administered a prescribed shot of dexamethasone sodium phosphate, rushed her to the emergency room and was told that several more hours Lynn, the love of my life, could have died.
So along with Lynn’s psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, coronary microvascular disease, from which she had suffered for years, she now was suffering from Crohns disease since early 2012. On top of all those prognoses, her adrenal glands were now not functioning properly; thus, the adrenal crises. Since that frightening September morning, we have also faced several mini-strokes. Currently, as I write this article, the possibility of multiple scoliosis or even Parkinson’s disease are possibilities on top of the other diagnosis. Yet, God has given us assurance that He is walking with us through these uncharted waters. Our church family has been remarkably supportive through days of prayer and fasting, laying on of hands, giving prayer cloths, handkerchiefs and even a ‘prayer quilt’ [each piece of the quilt being prayed over by individuals in the church and then sewn together to make the beautiful quilt] Lynn lays under her prayer quilt each night!!
I have had to learn to be the caregiver for my wife and assist her with a host of things, each one reminding me of the vows we made to each other back in 1976 at our wedding. The most prominent vow being the one where I promised to love her “in sickness and in health.” Because I have always been so much in love with her, it isn’t really too hard to do!
Through our entire year and a half of facing the challenges of change in our lifestyles, GOD has shown me that “He and only HE, grants to us the grace that is needed for each new day.” Thank you Lord for Your grace and thank you, Lynn, for your love!
The Patient’s Story…
By Lynn Smith – Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Former Administrative Assistant
Serious illness is not pleasant. Sometimes I laugh; at other times I cry. I laugh when I am asked to walk a straight line, and it is anything but a straight line. I cry knowing that ‘Depends’ do not make pretty
diapers. It seems that everything I have identified myself with has dramatically changed in the last year and a half. I used to work administratively at our church office; now I sleep a lot and can barely get out of bed. I used to travel everywhere with my husband, Walt; now I stay home most of the time except to go to doctor appointments. People come to visit me now where I once visited them. Change is challenging. However, I am thankful for a God and a husband that are caring, selfless and committed to caring for me.
Rx for Caregivers
One in every 3 households has a member who is a caregiver. The USA Today says there are over 44 million caregivers in the USA at the present time. Most are women; yet, they also comprise men and children—even young children. These precious caregivers are looking after someone who can’t fully take care of themselves. At times it is a temporary illness; in other cases, it is a progressive disease, and in many instances, it is terminal. Caregivers assist parents, spouses, sons or daughters, other family members and even friends. In almost every situation the caregiver makes a huge sacrifice in giving the proper care to the individual in need of care. Caregivers are remarkable people exhibiting love and compassion, giving needed assistance and help, yet they are individuals who often overlook their own personal care.
- So who cares for the caregiver?
- What should the caregiver ‘do’ to take care of themselves?
Here’s a brief Rx prescription:
- Daily devotions and time alone with the Lord to recharge spiritually.
- Proper attention to one’s own physical health, eating right, personal doctor’s appointments, exercise and much needed rest.
- Take time to rest, relax and find some respite. Read or have a hobby.
- Find a support system and join online caregiving groups for encouragement.
- A dear friend of mine says ‘Be sweet in your soul’— a must for every caregiver!
- Laugh and laugh some more.
- Don’t stop caring!
- Invent a 25-hour day!
A care-free life is not realistic. Caregiving is a challenge. We are all caregivers in some degree as we journey through this life. We never walk alone. We must navigate the various obstacles that come our way. So let’s walk faithfully—with God and with others by taking care of ourselves.
As printed in the Fall 2013 Network Connexions