Val’s Story — Part Two: Caregiving 2009

Here is part two of my friend Val Rainey’s caregiving story:

Hello readers. Some of you may remember the article entitled ‘Caregiving or Just How did I get Myself into this?’ that I wrote for Jill back in 2004. It is now October of 2009. I have never felt that my piece was in any way unfinished I was simply inspired to add to it.

Fast forward to 2009
Hello, it’s me again.

In early 2006 my mom was officially diagnosed with dementia, most likely Alzheimer’s. As you might expect life changed rather dramatically for my dad who until this time was able to in a way hide under the covers and not have to deal with the issue. I am in no way chastising my dad, it’s just how things go most of the time.

My parents sold their house in the spring of 2007 and moved to a care facility here in Lethbridge. Since that time I’ve come to know at least on a casual basis some of the staff of West Highland’s Centre or Good Sams as it’s generally called.

Right from the beginning they have been very supportive not only of my  parents but also of me.

One of the staff told me that unless you are the direct caregiver no one else ‘gets’ it.

Wow what a relief to my little old self to know that I was not going crazy and that I really was suffering from stress overload and not imagining things.

She definitely means NO ONE! Not a sibling, not a spouse or even a close friend NO ONE unless they have literally ‘been there and done it.’

For two years now I’ve been on my own which for me is a very different experience. Most of my life I’ve either been living at home, married or from 1996 to 2007 again living with my parents. It has been quite a learning curve…sometimes I feel it’s more like 90 degrees straight up!

One day you think that you’re doing great and the next day….not so much a feeling of depression but rather a sense of sadness can set in. You miss the security of having other people around.

Any how for the past two years I have met these challenges head on….but never on my own, whew!, as I have some very, very special friends in my life. Where do I start?… My dear friend Jeana, who I told you about earlier, my chiropractor Sean and his staff, my former chiro doc Don and his wife Kathy, my friend Paula and most recently the love of my life….Brian.

So here we are back to caregiving. Now it’s me learning how to look after me and dear friends doing yeomen’s service….always way above and beyond the call of duty attempting to ‘look after me’. None of them are trying to rescue me…they are simply there and I love them all dearly.

Val Rainey
October 26, 2009

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