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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Care giving


I have spent this past week down near Charlotte NC, staying with my mother in law. Gerry's dad had some pretty major surgery, unexpectedly and since everyone else has a 9 to 5 job, I was the best choice for staying there. It was exhausting, enlightening, joyful, sad, frustrating, hard. I have a whole new respect for what Gerry's dad has been through for the past few years, and I honestly do not know how he has taken care of her and the house and himself. I did it for a week, and I crashed hard yesterday when I got home. If any of you have parents that are going through this, I strongly urge you to help them as much as you can. There are great rewards. I learned a lot about myself, and what I can do, I quietly observed Joyce and understood her needs and what I should do for her, I grew to love her even more than I already did, she is a remarkable woman, even with a mind that is trapped inside of her.


As many of you know, I have a hard time sitting still. There was no way I could sit in that house while Joyce laid on the sofa all day and watched TV. We got out! We went to Walmart the first day I was there and we got some coloring books, some crayons, watercolors, scissors, construction paper. She talked to everyone, she is a preacher's wife after all. That's what she does. She told many of the folks there that I was her husband. Haha, we made quite an interesting gay couple!

Every morning after breakfast we would do some artwork. I cleaned off their back deck and put the swing out there, so after our art time, we went outside and sat in the swing for awhile and listened to the birds and the trains go by. Got a little vitamin D, talked and laughed.


We made a get well card. It took about 45 minutes for her to write get well soon, but I could not have been more proud of this. I cried.....



I also changed her diet while I was there and the bathroom business improved greatly, very happy about that! They get Meals on Wheels once a day, and I have to say it was a great disappointment. This was the meal on day three and I was completely put out with this. She wouldn't touch it. Look at that shit! Would you eat this? The cabbage smell gagged me and I wasn't really sure what the meat was, turned out to be a rather dried up pork chop. I spoke to a friend of theirs that helps deliver these meals and it was her understanding that the nearby prison prepared them. Oh, just terrific, my mother in law is eating prison food, isn't that just great?! This went in the trash, and instead we had some watermelon and cantaloupe, some peanut butter on sourdough bread, apple juice and organic roast chicken. She ate every bite.

I don't know what is going to happen now. Gerry's dad will not be coming home for awhile. He has to go to a rehab facility. Everyone is doing what they can to help out, but everyone has busy lives already and this adds a great strain to an already busy world. In the blink of an eye, Tuesday morning all of our lives changed.


My chicks seemed to have doubled in size while I was gone. Gerry and Wesley took good care of them and they seemed happy to see me when I got home last night. They are staying outside now since our house was starting to smell like vomit. They are adapting nicely and love their coop.


This morning I got up, got a cup of coffee and went outside to give them some kale. Then went and said hello to the cat and the tomatoes and just enjoyed the quiet. This is all the life I want right now. Caring for a family, animals and food that will feed me. What more in life do we really need?
Today, I cooked a nice breakfast including homemade biscuits, and now I am going to catch up on some blogging. I had limited computer time, and only had my iphone for email, so I have some catching up to do.

I have no plans for any clay making right now, it is a time demanding craft and I have no time for it. I have actually started to consider selling my kiln and getting an electric one sometime in the future. Life is in transition, Gerry and I are looking towards a different future and considering what is next. The Universe seems to be pointing us in all the right directions and all we really have to do is listen.....

14 comments:

cookingwithgas said...

in the blink of an eye you kids grow and your parents need you more than they ever did.
I hope you can all work this out with ease and dignity, it is a hard job. That food- ridiculous!
Crazy!
Food does not need to be fancy to taste good nor does it need to be cooked SH*T....I am appalled and sad all at the same time.

Dennis Allen said...

We are all "temporarily abled" and life can change in the blink of an eye. Such a blessing that you were there for her.Good Luck.

Tracey Broome said...

Thanks ya'll I have missed my blogger friends, trying to catch up with my reading! Weird not having a computer for a week.....

Michèle Hastings said...

As you know I can definitely feel for you. It's like suddenly someone flips a switch and the roles reverse. It's so many emotions all in one ball.

Meals on wheels really needs a lesson on creating meals with colorful appeal and knowing what travels well and what doesn't. My aunt, who is 82, volunteers for meals on wheels in NH. They have experienced some big budget cuts in the last year. I am sure this has affected the quality of meals. The program in NH can only deliver meals 4 days a week now. Very sad. Not every family is as lucky as ours are to have kids that can take time away to help out and make sure our elders eat.

littlemancat said...

Dennis really says it well - so true! I've been in this situation with my Mom and my aunt. At the same time. It was a long, tough road but not without tenderness. Both heart-breaking and revelation.
It does affect how you look at life, to put it mildly.
Take care of yourself. I think you did a wonderful job with this good lady,best to all of you -
Mary

Tracey Broome said...

Hi Michele, yes, I thought about you this week, it is amazing how quickly things change, I still can't get over how quickly things changed for your mom. It is what it is I suppose, life and death.....
Mary, it is a long tough journey with elderly and sick family members, but I feel very blessed that I am at a stage in my life that I can do this. My dad's death came at a time when I was not equipped emotionally and I was not mature enough to cope well. This is like my second chance. Thanks for your kind words everyone!

June Perry said...

I was both moved and outraged reading this post. What a blessing your loving visit and care were for her!

That wheels on meals photo was disgusting. I can't believe they would give that to anyone.

Maybe someone needs to start a healthy meals on wheels like they've done with some school lunch programs.

Can yo post that photo on some famous TV chefs Facebook pages to make them aware of how dreadful those meals are? I feel so bad for the disabled and elderly who don't have the ability to properly feed themselves and have to depend on food that looks so bad that I wouldn't even give it to my dog and cat.

Trish said...

Tracey... In one post you have again enlightened us, your readers, and again, made me proud of someone I have not officially met! :-).. Good for you! I am disgusted too, at that Meals on Wheels meal.. In my Mom's small community the meals were 100% better than what you show, certainly had good presentation and quantity/variety of foods. Gee!!! what are we doing to our aging population!. Life does change in the blink of an eye. Grace and Strength going forward. Trish

Tracey Broome said...

June, I think if I had a spare moment in my life this could become a mission with me! I always thought of meals on wheels as a really good thing that helped people, now I question everything I have believed:-)
Trish, thank you, how sweet you are xo

Scott Garrett said...

Hey Tracey, lovely post... and depressing too! Surely the one thing food isn't is grey. You've got to go some to achieve that. We had a tv show over here a couple of years ago with the Hairy Bikers( like Jamie's school dinners). http://www.hairybikers.com/shows/meals-on-wheels/1324
They set about changing meals on wheels over here. Haven't seen any follow up, but there were some fairly simple steps to radically improve it. Catering colleges for a start. I think the students all volunteered and lots of other people who were just unaware of how it was run. Even a couple of hours a weeks just to prep vegetables.
Glad to hear that Universe whispering in your ears.

JUDI TAVILL said...

It's such a journey, this life thing... dealing with my dad after his heart attack and stroke 5 years ago( could not rally speak among other things) changed me in many ways... as hard as it all was , I would say for the better but it was long and HARD... and losing him in January was, well, hard too...In fact it remains hard... What you are doing to help her is wonderful and to help Gary too... don't discount it ever. Anyway... just sending a little love.

Lori Buff said...

Many years ago I was placed in a situation where I had to keep company with a friend's elderly mother for a couple of days. We sat and talked a lot. She was sharp but her body was failing. I learned a lot by listening to her. Years later when my grandmother was in a similar situation I was able to visit her, sit by her bedside and listen to her. Those were really great, formative experiences. We should all be fortunate enough to get to spend some time with elderly people, they have so much to share with us.

Tracey Broome said...

Scott I love the idea of catering colleges, so brilliant! And I loved Jamie's efforts but they nearly crucified him over here.
Judi, I know. I did the dad thing 20 years ago, now here comes round two.... Ugh.
Lori, I used to do the same with my grandparents,start them on a topic and sit back and listen for hours. We really need to value the elderly wisdom more in our culture. How fortunate for you that you knew the value in listening, great memories for you to have forever!

Sandy miller said...

God, where to start........

My M-I-L received meals on wheels every damn day. It was dreadful stuff, I'm not sure I would have fed the chickens Meals on Wheels. I cooked food once a week and sent it up, but it never got her through the week. She ate everything and ate well when she had home cooked food. When she ran out, she just stopped eating and waited for the next care package from the kitchen. This society sucks at taking care of the elderly and we are loosing so much that has been seen through those now watery eyes. Rock on Sister, do the best you can and know you did your best. Standing ovation for you! It's damn hard and there are no easy answers. A retired cardiac surgeon told me; We just don't know what to do with death and the whole business of transition. He felt it was such an honor to treat the people on Medicare...... last Sept. the hospital he worked for fired him. He wasn't making them enough money so they pastured him into retirement at the age of 72. The guy is brilliant. Medicare pays the hospital .10 on the dollar. He donated his time the last three months he was there because he wanted to see his patients.

In my dream of dreams we all have victory gardens again and we can start to feed each other. It's working on my street, 94 year old Lois came down for her brown eggs today.

It's a journey and well worth the walk....... be well blogger friend :)