Ten days ago, I was preparing emotionally, physically, and spiritually for my dad’s surgery. Tonight, I am getting ready for bed as I prepare to close my eyes for the last time at my dad’s house (for this visit anyway). I am experiencing a little pain in my heart right now because I am not really ready to leave, but tomorrow begins a whole new set of activities and commitments.
Being a caregiver is extremely difficult. If you want to see what your personal struggles really are, be a caregiver for a couple of weeks. If you want to see the level of selfishness and other bad character traits you still have to have refined, be a caregiver. There were plenty of times when all I could think about was what I needed to get done, what I wanted to do, how the things at hand would inconvenience me. I had to readjust my attitude a lot, and alsoI had to push through those selfish feelings. Thinking about that, and also just how much my dad has suffered makes me sad that my thoughts weren’t also generous. The reality is that those are perfectly normal emotions. When it came to my actions, they were for the benefit of my dad. For the most part, my selfish desires did not win. I did make time to go to the gym and I also got to have dinner with a friend from elementary school. While it’s important to really hold in priority the needs of the person for which you are caring, it is very important to take care of self. I have experienced, on a very small scale, how you can become exhausted and run down in this role. I can’t even fathom what it would be like on a longer scale. I have a dear friend who’s husband has been ill for four years and is now unable to work. Her life has changed drastically and I know it has worn her down a lot (though you don’t know specifics, please keep her and her family in prayer).
Growing up, I wasn’t really close to my father; however, our relationship began to strengthen around five years ago. I had to learn to forgive him for the past and be willing to move on with the relationship in a positive way. I am glad that the Lord has prepared my heart and increased my capacity to love my dad and see him the way God does. I am very grateful.
There were a couple of days when I had to pray to get through the day. I was running low on sleep. I was frustrated with work stuff, and also anxious for having to forego some real estate training that would have been good to do, but in the end would not have been beneficial in the current circumstances – my dad’s health was more important than my participation in these activities.
One day I was so frustrated because I had already been up at 11:30pm, 12:30am and 2:30am, I was startled at 5:30am when my dad was on the floor and couldn’t get up. He had tried to go to the bathroom on his own. I was very cranky because just the two days before I was running low on sleep due to the medication schedule. Additionally, I was growing incredibly fearful that my dad was impacted because he could not move his bowels. It is not uncommon for surgery patients to experience difficulty with their GI tract moving smoothly after surgery. Anesthesia and narcotic pain medications will slow everything down greatly, but it is important to make sure some kind of movement happens within a week or so. We were getting close tot hat time and I was getting desperate. I was scouring the discharge papers, calling the nurse, and panicking a little. On this day after getting my dad situated in the bed again after his legs gave way, I went back to bed and listened to the Bible app as I am trying to get through the Bible chronologically. I kept having crazy thoughts enter my mind and I couldn’t focused. I finally got to the point where I cried out to God (and shed some tears) and asked him to please help my dad and that I needed to have confirmation he was going to be OK when I left. I could not leave if he was still struggling with something that could be so dangerous. I have been able to be home wth my dad 24/7 for the past 10 days. He will have some of my aunts coming to check on him during the day, but no one will be here with him full time. I am glad his girlfriend is living here so at least someone is here overnight and in the early morning (though I am not happy about them living together). After praying, I was able to go ahead and get the day started. I also ended up having to give my dad a suppository and everything was good to go. Since then, my dad has been getting better and better. He still has some weakness in his legs and pain when getting up and sitting down, but I can tell he is getting stronger and God has answered my prayer to see progress so that I feel released to leave tomorrow and feel confident about his wellbeing.
Well, it’s time to close my eyes.
Lord give me strength tomorrow to trust you with my father because he does belong to you. Jehovah Raffa your strength and healing is so needed. Please make me brave and give me the fortitude to persevere through the unknown. Thank you for your grace. Amen.