I have been dealing with so much these past three months, sometimes I am amazed at how God and you have picked me up and carried me throughout the days. Days of feeling too sad to get out of bed. Days of not wanting to make any decisions, and believe it or not, there have been days I don’t want to eat.
Taking care of my brother was probably the biggest challenge I ever have had in my life. So many friends and family told me over and over, take a break, take a rest, get away. Sometimes I listened, others I didn’t. I don’t blame what I heard today on my care of Al, but when you run on stress month after month, it can set you up for low immunity.
I always felt even though there were times I had help, there was still no one that could take care of him giving him all the emotional support better than me. Of course there are consequences to letting your mind and body go for months without the proper rest, care and nutrition; so if you are a caregiver, make and take the time, to consider you. Even short breaks does the mind and body good.
Last winter I started having problems, not bad, but enough that I noticed and knew something was happening within me. I tried my best to ignore them and go forward; after all Al needed me. After Al passed, it seemed that my body gave in to whatever it wanted to.
I had ear infections, eye infections. I pulled my arm and damaged a nerve and strained some ligaments. I got tired and seemed to have no energy; even if I slept for hours and hours, I still felt exhausted.
I began to notice that I would sometimes see the words I was typing jump around on the screen. Once again, I was suspicious, but ignored it. It wasn’t something I couldn’t deal with. Then more and more often I had trouble swallowing. It didn’t matter if it was my medications or a bite of food, it just wouldn’t go down. After all, I had taken care of Al for seven years, and my father for a year, and numerous other patients for a total of 23 years, so I could deal with a few minor issues, right?
The next thing I noticed is that when I walked very long I would feel inside my head become unsteady. I wouldn’t fall; but I felt like I was going to. I started putting the pieces of the puzzle together and went to my doctor a few times.
I knew my history as far as my family went, so I wasn’t really shocked when I heard the news. I was more in question of why me? After all I did helping others make it through life and death situations, I should be left alone.
But, we know God has his plans, and we sometimes have to face it that our lives may take a turn that we don’t really wish for, and this is one time for me.
I have decided to put my home up for sale and move closer to my daughter. My doctor highly recommended it. Not only for the fact that everywhere I go in my home, I see Al, but also if I need additional help or support, she and her family will make the time for me.
Like I said earlier, I wasn’t shocked as this illness runs very high in my dad’s side of the family, so when I heard the words Parkinson’s Disease, I didn’t pass out. The doctor explained that since I am so far down the line, that I have a high percentage of not having a full-blown PD. Right now my head tremors and my one hand when I am trying to hold food or something. Swallowing and feeling unsteady are still with me.
I have faith I will get through this, but it brings me huge comfort that I will not have to travel this road alone. I am going to work harder on doing what I did with Al; finding at least one small thing that is positive in my day. I am going to try to stay out of my bed more.
You can live many years with PD, and hopefully the quality of years I have left will be more beneficial than not. The last thing I ever want to dump on my family’s lap is the word burden.