My Life’s Lesson

  If you look at yourself in the mirror who do you see?  The you from 10-15 years ago or some other time in the past?  The you of the present?  Or are you thinking about and looking for the you of the future?  All three of these people are you true, but they are all different people.  The person I was thirty years ago is a far world apart from the person I was just twenty years and the person I am today.  The first me was just getting out of the Air Force, the second,  starting to recover from a terrible accident and finally the third is learning to deal with, live with and grow from those experiences.  All of which I could not have done without the people that are in my life and those that have visited it and moved on.  I believe we are gifted with the people who criss cross in and out of our lives.  I feel people are brought into our lives for a reason, one that we may never know why.  I grew up in a military family, traveling all over, which placed me in contact with a very diverse group of people, who were from all walks of life.  As a child I meet people from various countries, religions, colors, backgrounds and even learned several languages (enough to get by at least).  Then when I was in the military I meet folks who were told by judges they had a choice, enter the military or go to jail, others were from the poorest parts of the United State and were using the service to get out and grow and still some from wealthy homes.  Now I get to meet the kindest, give you the shirt off their backs and even open up their home to care for loved ones, friends, even family friends, their called caregivers and I call them friends.

There are caregivers who do it for a paycheck, I’m talking about the moms and dads, brothers and sisters even siblings or extended family members who take on the daily care of someone they know and love.  They are taking in someone who has epilepsy, heart disease, cancer, dementia or they may be paralyzed, you enter a severe medical condition here _____ and someone is out there caring for someone who has it.  I interacted online with parents who child since a very early age is in need of a heart and lung transplant and years later are still waiting.  Others with husbands who have dementia and many others in similar situations. I hear stories like this and I feel my own condition (chronic pain) is at the lower end of the conditions list.  The lessons I learned throughout my life, the many crossroads I taken as well as the detours, dead ends and such have led me to this wonderful, full filling  place in life.  As a caregiver for my mother, who is dealing with or dealt with heart, lung, depression to name    we’ve been able to get to know each other better, had many one on one chats, yes I even shed a tear once or twice and seen her pull through more things in five years than many never deal with in a lifetime.  I’ve also been taught the meaning of true faith from my brother in-law, Robert.  FYI: I dislike the term in-law, so hence forth he’ll be called brother or Robert.  He has lived with epilepsy since early childhood, gone through various major brain surgeries, testing, has his own pharmacy size list of medications and is on average admitted to the hospital two to three times a year.  He has had his faith tested many times during his life and is still one of if not the most religious, positive, joyful person you will ever meet. I have learned more from amazing people, the caregivers, my wife, mother and brother, all have helped change the way I see things within myself and with my own disability.

Now that my pain management doctor of sixteen years has retired (didn’t mention it to anyone) and that one of the two doctors that brought him out is also one of the two that unintentionally put me in the ICU in September 2013 for four days, caused me to stop breathing two or three times, is in control of my Intrathecal Catheter Pump (ICP) we’ve decided to look into other alternatives than the ICP, even though we’ve heard the ICP is the Cadillac of pain control for my pain.  The ICP is giving me 50-55% pain relief, so even if I found something in the 40-55% area I would contemplate switching.  Of course knowing Trish stood beside me during the first few ICP’s there were also times were she almost wasn’t there.  Remembering back to those times I would not have blamed her, medication trials both orally and in the ICP caused a lot of mood swings, deep depression, physical issues such as aching in the joints, very bad breath (sorry, mouthwash and brushing does nothing) and more.  When all my “friends” dropped off, my family were, are and hopefully will always be here.  My lovely wife, has already been through the thick and thin of it daily and as the years pass I only get worse.  The most positive point in my future is that Trish’s Life Lessons have ready her for taking care of Robert and then of me.  I couldn’t ask for better care. 

If you know a caregiver paid or not, thank them for the job they do whither they care for someone you know of if they care for you.  If you want to share a cup of coffee with a caregiver you can go to Twitter and enter #coffeewithacaregiver and leave them a virtual message.  Are you a caregiver?  If so what life lessons have you learned that helped prepare you to become a caregiver?  I would truly enjoy hearing your stories and learning your lessons.  Thank you for reading my blog.

– Kreisler

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