Post written by Cindy S. Kiosse, Operations Officer, Stockman Bank – Terry Branch
When you face unexpected circumstances, you do your best to handle the situation while learning on the fly.
Caregivers come in all shapes and sizes – parents, children, spouses, family, friends – and most don’t have much time to mentally prepare for all that being “a caregiver” involves.
I didn’t understand the true meaning of “Your life can change in a blink of an eye” until July 2010. On one hot July night, my mind was on the yard I’d just finished mowing. I remember feeling how satisfied I was to know it was done for another week. Two hours later, our yard would be the least of my concerns for nearly the next four years.
One seizure, an ambulance ride, and a night in the hospital later – my life and my family’s lives –changed forever. My role as a wife in our family changed over those four years to a caregiver.
I went from the everyday life of working, cooking, cleaning and bookkeeping to coordinating surgeries, booking treatments and doctor appointments, booking airline tickets, and talking with insurance companies…in addition to working full-time, cooking, cleaning, and bookkeeping.
Although we still made sure the lawn was mowed in the summer, its importance was very low compared to making sure my husband had the correct medicines every day and scheduling doctor appointments, tests, and treatments, which I also attended with him.
The physical tasks I added to my daily routine were a lot, but the emotional burden easily took the cake.
Waiting for results from the doctor, caring for my husband when he was sick from the treatments, and reassuring him it will all be worth it in the end…I found a strength I didn’t even know I had. I thought to myself “I don’t know if I could go through all that.” I admired his strength, courage, and positive attitude as he was fighting for his life.
As a caregiver, you often give up your needs for theirs with no hesitation. In our case, my husband had to give up a job he loved and traded it in for chemotherapy; he felt like he was no longer contributing to the family expenses.
I reassured him that we’d be okay, that we could handle anything that came our way, and that the most important thing would be that he took care of himself. Meanwhile, I naturally worried about how we were going to pay our bills, treatments and travel expenses.
One thing that really benefited us was being very organized with all of the paperwork from hospitals and insurance companies so if any issues arose, I had documentation of everything.
I try to find the positive in any situation, and I can honestly say that I did enjoy spending time with my husband traveling to all of those appointments and treatments. I cherish all that time we spent together and memories I have with him. In the end, I wouldn’t have traded the experience of being my husband’s caregiver for anything.