"Hidden Talents of a Caregiver"
I might introduce myself as a college professor of world religions.
But, I am also a wife and full-time caregiver to my husband, whose health is deteriorating.
“Caregiver.” How much is contained in that one word!
You wouldn't know, unless you asked, the skills I have learned these last six years.
Shall I tell you of my secrets, my hidden talents?
I am a nutritionist, dietitian, endocrinologist, and part magician as I negotiate a reduced salt, low sugar, low potassium, low phosphorus, and high protein diet and sometimes manage to produce edible food.
I am a speech therapist, testing consistencies of food and drink and watching for running noses and coughs during swallowing.
I am a cleaner of messes, big and small.
I am the eyes and ears for those that have dimmed or faded.
I am a ray of sunshine in the midst of gloom.
I am an emergency responder and first aid giver when help is needed urgently.
I am a physical therapist, lifting legs and arms and bending them to stretch the muscles and supply nutrients to the underused joints.
I am a dialysis nurse, watching the lab work, blood pressures, fluid gains, and the thick needles that are life-preserving, but not life-giving.
I am Mom, especially at night when I hold him close to calm and protect from the terrors.
I am a chauffeur of our wheelchair-accessible van that brings some freedom to a yearning heart.
I am a wound expert with my arsenal of skin products, always on the lookout for signs of pressure sores and cuts.
I am a podiatrist, having learned how to debride troublesome blisters to allow the skin to heal, preventing loss of toes or limbs (or worse).
I am a barber and shower assistant, taking pride in giving a clean shave and cleanliness, when possible.
I am a urologist, facilitating the flow of golden fluid.
Before 10 a.m., I am a zombie. So, no. We cannot make it to any morning appointments.
I am day shift and night shift, evenings and weekends, holidays, too. But, when I have respite, I spend most my time wishing I were home.
I am a social worker, actively seeking programs, assistance, and resources to make life easier.
I am a medication manager, understanding enough about each pill to be able to deliver or withhold, if needed.
I am an entertainer to fight away the boredom.
I am a source of love, comfort, and care in a harsh reality.
I have developed many skills, adapting to what's needed the next day.
When this time passes, what will I be then?
How will I reenter the world after knowing what the end is like?
My soul has cried during this painful journey,
even as I try to be grateful for the challenges.
At least I know that if I’m passionate enough, I can learn
new skills that I never dreamed of achieving.
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Can you relate? Do you have a poem to share?