Chicken Soup for the Caregiver's Soul.

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I would like to start a new thread of caregiver's stories which are inspiring. Experiences we would not have had if we weren't caregivers.

God places us where he wants us to be without us knowing the reason why, until later on.

This is my experience with patient "Agneta".
After working an exhaustive night shift and just wanting to get home and crawl into bed, I entered Agneta's room to do her blood pressure. When I lifted the sleeve of her hospital gown I saw "the numbers" tatooed on her arm. I knew immediately these were numbers given in a concentration camp. I did not say a word but rubbed her arm. She looked at me with serious eyes, and said she was in Auschwitz. She did not know her husband was still alive until they both survived the concentration camp and were reunited.
She said her husband was admitted to ICU 3 weeks ago and her to the hospital a few days after that. She had not seen him but knew he was terminal. I was "lead" to bring her to ICU in a wheelchair so she could see her husband. We arrived at his room. He was very frail. He looked up at her and said "Agneta, Agneta! My darling, I have missed you so much!" They chatted lovingly for a while. He said thankyou for bringing my darling to me! I Brought Agneta back to her room and said I would check on her the next night. After reporting back to work, I checked on Agneta's husband. His bed was empty. He had died later that day. It was a bitter sweet moment.... but one of which I knew I gave this special couple the last chance to say goodbye......


One cold and wintery night, night three of my ten year stint as a hospice on call nurse I arrived at a log cabin in the woods with long icicles hanging from the roof to visit an old farmer. I made my examination and obtained the medications he needed. As was about to leave his son sitting in the kitchen said "it's not right, if he was a cow we'd have to shoot him"
We've been caring for my MIL for the last 3 years in our home, we went weekly to clean her apartment and take her shopping for a couple of years before that...she is almost blind, deaf, has Parkinson's, her cancer is back, and she's 91, so she is completely dependent on us (mostly me because we are trying to help her maintain some dignity and husband opts out of bath and toilet time...) anyway I had told my friend jokingly (husband and I do have a really good relationship) that I may not be able to foretell the future and things may change down the road but for right now I don't think I have to worry about him trading me in for a younger hottie...I relayed this conversation to him and his response was "Boy have you got that right!"...seems my future is secure for a while longer...been married almost 47 years...LOL
Oh norest, HUGE lump in my throat. You are an angel on earth, my dear. You gave Agneta a very special gift. It takes a special person to realize our elderly folks needs at end of life. So many don't take the time to stop and listen, or don't care.

It's a painful subject for me as my own mother couldn't overcome her own mental issues to visit my dad more than once when he was dying in a hospice house from brain cancer. Now I'm her number one target for control.

The Chickensoup: I know how NOT to live when I'm older and to be grateful for love and family and friends. Mom just turned 74 when my dad died. Hopefully I'll still be out in the garden. No matter what I will be THANKFUL!
I was hoping to see more stories... as there must be some really profound experiences I'd live to hear about!
We received a call from the nursing home that my husbands mother was dying. I woke my husband up and I said we need to go to say goodbye and let her know we are there. He said he did not want to go, so I said it was ok, I would go, because I didn't think she should be alone. By the time I got dressed, he had gotten ready and said he would drive me there, but he didn't want go in. So we went and I was walking in, he came up behind me. He said he would go but not in the room. I went into the room and sat beside her and let her know that we were there and she was loved. Then my husband came into the room and saw her and could not speak, so I told her that he was there. I didn't make him go, but I guess he found the courage. He cried on the way home and was so glad that he was there for her. I think his mother knew he was there, the nurses said that she passed away moments after we left her room.
"Until Death Do Us Not Part"
A long time ago in a small settlement in the Province of New Hampshire a man named John, married Elizabeth. In the next 21 years their love produced ten children. Their lives took them from Kingston, to Candia and to Canterbury, their final resting place. At age 92, John passed away, followed a few days later by his wife, Elizabeth. They had been married for 67 years. This is a tribute to my Great 6x Grandfather John Huntoon Jr and his wife, my Great 6x Grandmother, Elizabeth (Beede) Huntoon. It was their love and sacrifice in building this great nation that I am here today, living free. John died November 15, 1820, his wife Elizabeth, November 17, 1820 , joining him in their final resting place together, never apart.
My family history is not good due to early death from to heart disease. Any one dying of heart disease before age 60 is considered positive for family history. My grandfather died at age 50 of a massive heart attack.
My mother was a gardener.. the yard was breathtaking! She one said... I'd like to someday come back as a butterfly!
Having 5 sisters, our family did not take many trips. Though we'd have a yearly daytrip to the shore and end up like lobsters after being in the sun all day. I'll never forget the scrumptous chicken salad sandwiches my mother made..Those were such good memories!
Our family was on the way home from the shore, I was age 11, my mother was age 38. My father always took the same route home. I am not sure if he missed a turn but he ended going a totally different way. My mother began having a problem breathing. It just so happened we were right near a hospital. My father rushed her to the emergency room. My five sisters and I waited terrified in the car. It turned out my mother had a blood pressure 280/ 140 and then cardiac arrested. They brought her back.
A few years later, after having bouts of pancreatitis, she was sent to a hospital in Boston. One thing discovered was gall stones. These were removed and during surgery she arrested again. They brought her back.
After uncontrollable blood pressure, at age 45, she was admitted to the hospital to try and bring it down. It was at the time of my high school graduation. I remember looking out into the stands and spotted my father looking so distraught. I cried behind sunglasses because my mother was not there. After graduation, I visited her at the hospital in my cap and gown. They decided that day to move her to another hospital to do an angiogram. Before we heard results, we received a call she had been transported to another hospital for emergency bypass surgery. Surgery was done, she had 5 grafts done. Doctor said most people have 1-3. After the surgery, she never became conscious. My father and I went to pray at a chapel, she arrested again and she died about the time we were in chapel. My dad left me alone in a waiting go see her. He would not allow me to go. I never felt so alone in my life. A nurse came in and held me while I sobbed. I will never forget that. An angel on Earth!
We had to eventually go home, and tell the rest of my sisters...... and relive the grief as we heard wailing with each sister we told.
At my mother's funeral, we knew she was at peace.... when a "butterfly" whisped by us and "landed" on my father's shoulder! It was God sent!
It is really hard to lose a parent so young. We miss out on so much.
A year after my mother died at age 45, my father age 48 began cardiac symptoms. He too needed bypass surgery. Can you imagine having to go for the same surgery that your wife just died a year ago from?. He too had 5 bypass grafts. He told us during his sugery, he saw my mother reaching her hand out to him. He said he knew he could not take it, and didn't. He did come through the surgery ok. After a few years, he again started having cardiac symptoms. I had the opportunity to discuss with him about getting it checked out. He flat out said he would never go through that again. He died of a massive heart attack shortly after that. There were no butterflies this time, but he loved cardinals! Everytime I see a red cardinal now, I say "Hi dad".
@ norest'
your original story would have had a different ending had you not been listening to the patients concerns. thats the most important thing ive learned about end of life comfort care ; listen to the patient.
edna and i took our drive this afternoon. it " accidently " ended up at her 40 acre home place for a memory trip then " accidently " ended up in a nearby small town for a visit with her 82 yr old SIL . it was a day that was tailored to her need to groove on something familiar as a great many of her memories have been wiped.she said the old home place had changed immensely. lol . it hasnt changed in 100 years.
i have an interesting story of old age and death. had a neighbor one time, " roy " , bout 85 yrs of age. he was lean and the picture of health. one day he was sitting in his easy chair with his wife of probably 60 yrs. roy started sobbing and beaulah asked him what was wrong. he told her he was ate up with cancer and going to die. he was gone in three weeks. i always thought that was a hellish show of love to spare his wife what was going on until it couldnt be hidden any longer.
if i were to become terminally ill i hope to convince my sons that theres nothing sad about it as ive slammed 120 years into less than half that amount of time. what most people hope to accomplish ive done multiple times just to prove the first success wasnt a fluke. i deserve to rest bi**hes, lol..
Awesome captain!
i have an interesting and sad story about my mothers final hours on earth. she walked with me to her bedroom and out of the blue asked me how she was going to get out of " this one " . ( death ) . she clearly knew her time was up . i think its because her digestive system had ground to a halt and she was either sensing that one system had already died or she could feel the toxins spreading thru her body.

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