Another Good Day

Today was Marian's first full day home from the hospital. I guess I should say she's in her "home away from home" (aka: our house).

She had half a banana, a poached egg, and toast for breakfast. Rebecca and the boys came out for part of the day and I made tostadas and guacamole for lunch.

It was so good to see the kids. I had not seen my grandsons since Christmas Eve. I don't think I have ever gone this long without seeing them and I couldn't wait for them to get here. I told Marian not to feel like she had to stay downstairs and visit the whole time. I encouraged her to spend as much or as little time hanging out with us as she felt up to, but then to feel free to excuse herself and go rest any time. However, the kids seemed to energize her and I was amazed at her endurance. She never went back upstairs until they were leaving. And then she rested until dinner.

My friend, Anita, asked me yesterday what she could do to help me. Ninety-nine percent of the time my response to this question is "Nothing." But this time I said, "I'd let you make us a chicken and dressing casserole if you want to." I love her chicken and dressing casserole and so does John. So she made it for us today and Mark brought it over. I made green beans and Sister Shubert rolls to go with it, and opened a can of cranberries. It was so good. And I am miserable because I ate way too much today.

Tomorrow afternoon we have an appt. to see the nurse practitioner in Dr. Flinn's office. Monday Marian will have CT scans and a PET scan. Then Tuesday we will see Dr. Flinn and review her test results. She is on a hiatus from CAL-101 until she is sufficiently recovered. And then we will reevaluate her options.

Although she is not 100% and is slightly overwhelmed with the number of prescriptions she is having to take right now, she's doing amazingly well; especially considering the shape she was in just one week ago.

I feel like I am continuing my learning process as a caregiver in numerous areas. I want to be an emotional caregiver as well as a physical caregiver. And almost daily I think about what it will be like when I am Marian's age and/or facing my own health issues. How would I want to be treated, spoken to, cared for?

There can also be a great deal of stress in being a caregiver. For me, much of it can be self-imposed. So in those moments, I find myself thinking about my daughter-in-law and what it will be like for her if she is caring for me one day. Last night I was reflecting on several conversations and projecting myself into the future. And I thought of a possible book I could write...Letters to My Daughter-in-Law. It would be a collection of essays on caregiving, the stresses and the rewards, including personal anecdotes. The first chapter would be: Be Kind to Yourself. I would want her to know that I understood and related to what she was going through. When that day comes, I may not be able to remember or communicate it quite as effectively as I could if I shared my thoughts today. But I'm already thinking about how much I appreciate her in advance. I know I have the kind of daughter-in-law I am trying to be. It's an enormous comfort when I think about the future.

Because I love to write, I often contemplate different future book ideas. There are a variety of things I would like to write about. Maybe one day I will find the time and energy to explore one of those ideas.