How Much Is Love?
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(Part 2 of 2):
Liz and I lived in a condominium, very close to our
families. We eventually found a nice old house
further South in another County. The price was, at
last, affordable. We moved there in 2006 during
the Winter. We knew God had arranged the whole
thing, as pieces of our puzzle (to FIND a house
with the right price & look/feel) fell into place. 1st,
we were told the house was built in 1908 - the year
Liz's Grandparents were married. 2nd, Liz's Mother
was born and raised just a few miles North. 3rd, for
some reason ("Godly"), I came up with a very different than normal price offer: 167,450.00. 4th,
as we approached the house to "check it out," I had
to stop at a 4-way intersection; I noticed the cross-
road sign read Blackburn Lane, the Family name Liz was given @ birth! Other assurances "came
along" after we moved in. So, we were & are
supposed to be here, "with" this old country house,
and nx door to the nicest lady neighbor we've ever
had. Oh, I musn't forget the perfect yard that we
finally had to work in; and the bluebirds which we
never had. I wrote all of this and the previous Part
to "give support" to the Caregiving story itself:
Several months later, May of 2006, Liz had to have
a lumpectomy, which was malignant but very small.
She had Mammosite radiation for 5 days/2x a day,
and the "problem" was cured. Then, Liz fell in our
carport, and broke her L wrist. Later, she had to have arthritis surgery on her R thumb. Not long
after, Liz tripped & fell in a resturant, struck her
R eyelid-bone, and had a significant injury. She does not remember the fall. I stayed by Liz's side
during all of these events, helping her with dressing
changes, especially the L breast, getting restful po-
sitions, medication, getting dressed, toileting, Dr visits, eating, etc. But, it never dawned on me that
I was actually being Liz's Caregiver! I did not have
that thought...I just wanted to help her. So, I put my love for her to use, I suppose?
Liz had a very difficult treatment period after the
Lumpectomy. No, not chemotherapy, Praise God.
Something "worse" - Hormone Inhibitor drugs, for
4 years! Research had proven successful recovery with 5yr regimen, but "we" had to S T O P @ the
four-yr mark, in April 2010. Ladies know what I'm
talking about here. Yes, Liz really suffered with
this Therapy, and her "dislike" of her Oncology Dr
did not help.Liz was having un-relenting hot flashes
and night sweats, itching, anxiety, & other effects.
Now, the latter was not all-day-long, no. Her Dr
made some changes, I cannot exactly remember
In June of 2010, Liz was still having some of the above effects, plus her gait was becoming slow,
her knees & lower back hurt, and she began to
have trouble getting to the bathroom on time. Then,
in the last week of June (her Birthday!!6-27-47),
she felt a swollen lymph node on her upper-L chest.
These symptoms didn't get better, and in July, Liz
began to lose strength in her legs, and she fell sev-
eral times (not badly) & couldn't get up. She also
couldn't get to the bathroom on time.
On a very bad day, July 15, I was in town, & could not reach Liz by phone, as I "checked on her" constantly in these 1st 2 weeks. I rushed home, and found Lizzy (my "husband name") on the bathroom floor, and yes, a "pool" beside her. That's not the worst of it. She had slipped out of our bed- room chair, trying to get up, and had SCOOTED
to the bathroom. ( Her hips & legs did not "let her" crawl, much less get up ). Liz tried to pull herself up using the comode bowl. I cleaned her hands, got her up and onto the bed, and called her Dr. (we had been 2x already).
**I cry every single time I think about this "scene."
I helped her to walk the following few days, and kept in-touch with the Dr. I and she knew that something really serious was "going on" with her body, and it was NOT just the hormone therapy effects. We headed to Vanderbilt ER on July 24th.
On July 30, Drs (many) had a diagnosis : NHLymp- homa. I will very proudly & humbly say, the Dr's of
the Hematology Team in Vanderbilt Medical Center were magnificent, brilliant, compassionate, highly
skilled...and, very cordial. My Caregiving suddenly
became (scale 1-10) a 10 +. I was "in for the long
haul;" I knew it. I was positive-minded and I had &
kept a joyful & Faithful heart. Liz was REALLY sick
but she had & kept these same feelings.
My Caregiving became very "large" immediat-
ely. Liz does not remember much of those first few
days of being in the Hospital. I was her ears, voice:
for questions & answers, memory, hands: signatu-res & eating/drinking. I did not leave Liz's side, but
for necessities. The NHL had formed a mass in her
Lumbar, and was into the "horse's tail" of nerves
that controls the lower body functions. Liz had par-
alysis "everywhere" below her waist. Her Hospital
stay & treatments was a total of 17 weeks.She was
in 2 different Health and Rehab facilities for many
weeks, & months. I "mastered" her medications.
Liz was able to come home on June 30, 2011, for 7&1/2 months. My Caregiving went to still another level, and I welcomed it to be helping her
more directly. You do what you have to: sometimes
the un-mentionable, but you LOVE this person, your Spouse. Nothing I did @ home (or do now) for her was EVER regretable, or "yuk!" - nothing. Sure, I had HomeHealth nursing & Aides. But, we were together! home! and everything was a joy, &
was positive; no negatives to this Privilage given to
me by God Himself. He supplied all the right things
at the right times, all the right people, and yes He
sent Angels..you bet He did! I was there..hospital,
Facility, home. He sent a tall, black,very nice nurse in our first week (Hospital) who simply came in the room to help, leaned over to Liz and said "Honey,
this is just a bump in the road, just temporary. Don't you worry, you'll be fine." Earthly Angel? Yes! Our
very first week. He also sent to Liz the Best Dr we
could've ever hoped for: he said, as he patted her
leg, "Now, you are a very sick girl, but don't you worry, we are going to take care of this, someone
will be here all the time. I'll be in tomorrow with our
Team, but we'll start you on something tonight. So,
just rest, and we'll take care of everything, OK?"
Liz is NOW in a Facility - to help me and her - since Jan/2012 - to get constant 24/7 Skilled & daily care, and P&OTherapy. Caregiver is what we
do, and whatever the task, the chore, duty -- you
just do it. Out of love, you just do it. You give up
yourself, but you take breaks. You set priorities,
and you set them again. You pray, and you pray.
And, you keep on loving - your Spouse, "your
patient." You communicate with all family and friends. Then, prayer becomes monumental, because you "did your job." Your spouse gets the best of care, because you manage it, you adminis- trate: Dr's, Nurses, Aides, Therapists, meds, paperwork, appointments, follow-ups, transporta-
tion, questions, answers, the house, the bills, the yard. Phone calls,Emails, more paperwork,laundry,
supplies...because you love her. You do all these things & more out of honor to God for the love of your life.
And, you make arrangements for your time-away to rest, refresh, renew. Then, absence makes you love even more when you return. And suddenly, your love is greater yet than you could ever imagine. God is proud of you, your spouse is proud, the family, and you are thankful. But, you never ask for or expect anything in return -- So, the "total" of this Love? It can never be added.
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