Boy, there have been a lot of things happening since my last post. Daddy spent a day over 4 weeks in the hospital again. He did get to come home over the weekend, but with hospice this time. Mom and my brother Bobby have set up his hospital bed where he can get a lot of natural light, and they are taking good care of him. God sent a blessing in the form of a member of Mom's church who will come and sit with Daddy a few hours each week, so she can get some things done for herself; she hasn't had that luxury in quite some time.
I was supposed to go down there again last week, but the day before I was to leave, I began to get sick and run a temperature. After two visits to a walk-in clinic in two days, I was finally diagnosed with Strep throat, and given medicine for that. Still, I wasn't getting better, and by Friday, when my fever had reached almost 104, I headed to the ER, and was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. I have NO idea where that came from; I've never had it before! Anyway, I came home on Sunday, and have spent this day resting (after taking a shower this morning just about wore me out!). I go to the doctor tomorrow to get some lab and culture results that were still pending when I left the hospital. My temp started to climb last night, and it scared me, but today has been better. I am desperately hoping that I feel well enough to have Isaiah this weekend; I miss that little guy so much! I called him tonight, the first time I have talked to him in a week (I also lost my voice, and have been hard to understand for the past 5 days [and I could almost hear a comment from Roger about that]), and it was amazing how that little voice could make me feel so much better!
I had the privilege of speaking at a benefit concert a couple of weeks ago. A very good friend of mine is starting a respite program at her church just north of Nashville. It will be a place of love where caregivers can bring their loved ones with Alzheimer's, dementia, and other incapacitating adult diseases, while they have a chance to take care of themselves, their homes, their errands, etc. They will also have special care in place so that families can attend church, something that is very difficult for most people in this situation. I spoke about what it would mean to a caregiver to have that kind of time. I wish there had been some sort of program for my parents like that, while Daddy was able to attend. It's amazing to see how a different face can spark a conversation, when sometimes the familiar can't. We are praying for this program, called "The Veranda", to be an example to us, and to other churches to do the same. The Bible commands us to honor and respect our parents, and the elderly. Many churches provide programs for everyone in the church BUT the elderly, except for a monthly potluck for those who are healthy enough to attend. But, there is a vast commnunity of the elderly who still need our love and care, too. They still have a lot to give us, if we will just take the time to see through the disease that has taken over.
The last time I was in AR, Daddy never said my name all week. One day, though, the hosptial chaplain came in and Daddy told him I was his only daughter. Then, when the doctor came in, he told him I was his favorite daughter (never mind I am the only one, I will take it!). Even when he didn't really know who I was, he still reached for my hand to hold, and the last thing he said to me before I left was, "I love you". Those are memories that will be forever in my heart, and even though all of the travel and schedule-juggling is tough, I wouldn't trade anything for those times.
If you are blessed to be a caregiver, in any capacity, you have a special calling. I know how tiring it is. I know how frustrating it can be. I know how emotions can be very confusing at times. But, look for those moments when the person you know peeks out and smiles at you. They wouldn't choose this kind of life, if they had the choice, nor would they mean to be a burden on you. Choose to look for those blessings, and hold them in your heart. True love never dies.
God loves us all. He cares about our burdens. He wants to make us whole. While we wait on a perfect eternity, we can rest assured that we are held lovingly
In His Grip!