Not much is ever said about caregivers. Sometimes daily caregivers are healthcare professionals, but most often, they are spouses and other family members. When the caregiver is a healthcare professional, there is a certain detachment because they are treating a patient. However, when the caregiver is a spouse or other family member, you share the fight at a completely different level.
My parents took care of each other and raised my siblings and me, but 26 years into their marriage, my mother got Parkinson’s. For the subsequent 24 years, my father was her daily caregiver, and toward the end, he had the assistance of a healthcare professional. I cannot imagine having to watch my wife go through what my mother went through, particularly the last 3-5 years. I cannot imagine how my father did it day in and day out.
Which brings me to the topic of my primary caregiver, my wife Sally. We are fighting Parkinson’s drug free together. Sally works a full time job, we have three teenagers, and she lives the ups and downs of being the primary caregiver for a Parkinson’s patient. Additionally, my secondary caregivers, our children, have been a big help around the house assisting with tasks I no longer can do.
Every day, Sally and I discuss how I am feeling and we plan and make adjustments in my diet, exercise and meditation regimens to address changes as they occur. To best assist me, she needs to know everything, and sometimes that is difficult because sometimes it is not good news. However, we make a good team, and we are in this together. She is just as determined as me to cure me of this otherwise-thought-of-incurable-disease, so who better to be my caregiver.
An excerpt from the Who’s “Bargain” best explains how I feel:
I sit looking ’round
I look at my face in the mirror
I know I’m worth nothing without you
In life one and one don’t make two
One and one make one.
All my best,