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The Old Guy . . . Helpless . . . Hope To This Tired Old Heart . . .

Helpless

How hideous a disease,
That takes you from me.
Your laughter a memory,
As I stand helpless.

Shaking hand,
Drives noisy ice,
And betrays far-away thoughts,
Somewhere within her.

I cannot follow,
Or guide her steps back,
Her far-away place,
Is far beyond my meger grasp.

Oh Sweetheart,
Don’t mind my tears,
Holding you tightly in your time of need,
Brings hope to this tired old heart.

****

 

Dialysis day starts early. Some days, very early. The last couple of days my Sweetheart has failed two wake me when she wants to get up first thing. I wake suddenly and find her lying on the floor between the bed and wall. She won’t call out despite her discomfort and just lies there clutching a plastic bottle of nose spray. For some odd reason, she will not loosen her grip on the bottle and uncharacteristically resists my efforts to take it from her. As long as it is not hurting her … I let it be.

For the second time in as many days, I nearly tear apart every muscle in my shoulders getting her dead weight off the floor and back to the side of the bed.

Dialysis day breakfast

Dialysis day breakfast

She steps with timid little-old-lady steps, predictably soon forgetting the next step and leaning forward. I straighten her up and caution her not stop stepping. When she leans forward she tends to nose dive into the furniture or floor. She has come to be a serious fall risk and has accepted, without to much protest, my wheelchair as her own.

In the bathroom there is clean-up, new adult diaper, and guidance to her chair in the living room where she watches her morning program. Her little darling, the Gretchen dog, joins her in this early morning ritual. Together, they turn their attention in the direction of the television; alternating napping and watching, watching and napping.

For my part, I head to the kitchen to prepare breakfast. Most days I get the toast loaded into the small oven, and the bacon ready for the microwave. While they cook I get my oatmeal ready including two pork sausages fried. The timing of everything can seem haphazard, but it normally works out close enough with few things burned or actually catching fire.

For her part, my Sweetheart picks at her food or shares it with Gretchen. More often than not, most of her breakfast goes back to the kitchen. She does well when eating a buttered biscuit covered with maple syrup with a side of bacon, but such things are not on her or Gretchen’s diet.

After my oatmeal, and preparing her lunch, it is time to get dressed. Stockings or hosiery on, pants legs started, stand up, pull up, bra fastened, things tucked in that need tucking in and blouse put on. Next is a relaxing time of getting her hair brushed. At times, Gretchen is included in the brushing and seems to enjoy the routine. She does have fun biting the brush handle.

At the appropriate hour, it is time to start our adventure to Somerset. I stand in front of her and grasp her hands . . . one, two, three and up. I walk backwards gently guiding her and making sure she won’t fall. Step, step, step, move your feet. Don’t lean forward Sweetheart … move your feet, step, step, step … just like dancing … step, step, step. Out the door and one, two, three down the porch steps, along the brick walk … step, step, step and into the car.

DSC_0009

Dialysis Day Transportation …

The ride to Somerset is mostly made in silence. Only the drone of the car engine can be heard. My Sweetheart stopped talking two weeks or so ago but does occasionally answer direct questions if she is in the mood.

At the dialysis clinic, I take her inside in the wheelchair. She is too weak to walk down the hall and to the left where the dialysis stations are located. When she is called, I wheel her in, get her situated on her rear-end donut in her recliner, hook up her blood pressure cup, cover her with a warm blanket, add a colorful quilt and arrange her purse, word puzzle book, and lunch box on the table connected to the chair. Since I cannot stay during the treatment, she gets a parting kiss and a heartfelt “I love you”. I also tell her to behave herself.

Three and a half hours later, she is wheeled out and we reverse the routine and head home.

Helpless by John E Moss Copyright 2015

 

 

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The Old Guy … Where Does She Go …

Where Does She Go …

In the early morning hours,
I weep for my Sweetheart,
Her mind is going to a far away place,
Where I cannot follow,
In silence she sits,
Without me …
Even though I am beside her …

I weep for my Sweetheart,
And cannot realize the horror,
The frustration,
Of losing the sense,
Of one’s own self …
Where does she go when she sits,
In silence ..

There is no laughter,
Or soft spoken word,
Anymore,
Where she treads with small steps,
Here or there,
Or stands in silence,
Just beyond the doorway.

Oh my love,
You do not hear my words,
Or see my tears,
But I am beside you,
Despite the hour day or night.
Rest this evening and do not stir,
I am here … only a breath away.

Poem “Where Does She Go” By John E. Moss Copyright 2015

***

Sweetheart-1

My Sweetheart … Distance Thinking …

I get tired. Sometimes so tired I just want to go out in the middle of the backyard, sit down and don’t get up for a week. It is selfish of me I know, but being a full-time 24/7 caregiver is a daunting task. I could have never in my wildest dreams imagined the where, when, who and the stringent demands of such a life changing experience.

It would help my caregiving duties if I were an organized personage, but I am not. Far from it. I have always had packrat tendencies which clash with the rules and socially accepted demands of “efficiency”or “efficiency in motion”. But I am learning.

The morning routine for my Sweetheart and myself depends on the day of the week. Either day, dialysis or free, is much like herding cats. Pills, breakfast, bathroom trips and getting dressed several times consumes most of the morning. Next comes hair brushing, re-dressing, bathroom trips, along with additional standing, staring and distance thinking in the kitchen or doorway.

Sweetheart-2

Thinking …

I feel shut-out and helpless. Visions of my father taking care of my bedridden mother come to mind. He had a long and difficult time with  her before she died. Through his dedication and lengthy example, he taught me responsibility, dedication and how to love even when exceptionally heartbreaking and frustrating.

A week or so ago she stopped talking to me. My Sweetheart will at times answer questions but remains far from being a conversationalist. It is very frustrating. A new medication for dementia has helped some, but doesn’t cope well on dialysis days. The pull process of the treatment overwhelms the small odd colored pill and renders it useless.

Being a full time caregiver was something I never expected to happen to me at any stage of my life. But … since it has so unexpectedly arrived … each day is a fresh challenge, at times rewarding, at times exceptionally frustrating, and physically and mentally draining. I can only hope I have the inner and spiritual strength to do right by my Sweetheart and somehow during her life trial she will know of my love and dedication to her.

So, the first stage is running its course … and the second stage will come to the forefront in its own time.

 .

Next Week … Something Interesting or something current …

For Additional Photographs Click on This 500 px Link …

For More Additional Photographs Click On This Flicker Link …