Chapter Two of my book, “You Have Got to be Kidding Me” is entitled ‘Pittsburgh and Dr. Who?’. This is where I realized for the first time, I became a caregiver to Connie. I was the one who took Connie to the hospital for her first lumpectomy, stayed through the surgery then took her home the same day. That day would change me for the rest of my life, and I did not even realize it at the time. A caregiver is a person who cares for someone who is sick or disabled. “caregiver.” Dictionary.com. 2020. https://www.dictionary.com (16 April 2020).
Connie, she was such an independent, strong-willed woman. Because of that, it was extremely difficult for her to ask for my help or let me do things for her that she needed. It didn’t take long for her to realize that physically she could do certain things as she could before. I can tell you she sure tried to, sometimes overdoing it to the point of exhaustion. I had to learn when to step in and do things ahead of time so she would not have to do them but balance it out where she still felt somewhat independent.
She would let me know if I started to smother her and try and do too much. Her classic comment was,” I am very capable of doing that!” One of the darkest times we had was when she had spinal meningitis. She was so sick and weak, that she could not hardly do anything for herself. I had to do almost everything for her because she just did not have the physical strength. Just something like walking from one room to the next room would be a big challenge for her. She would have to sit and recover from just doing that. I did not mind doing anything at all for her; she was my wife.
We had many conversations about me doing so much. Connie felt bad that I had work besides take care of her and the house. I would look at her and say, “Can you do it?” “No” was her reply. I would remind her that I knew if she was capable of doing it, she would and if she were sitting on the couch eating chocolates all day that would be a different story, which always made her chuckle.
In writing these blogs, I recalled many memories of being a caregiver. For me, the husband translates to the caregiver.