Take 2

with Jerry & Debbie

Are You Caring For Someone With A Debilitating Illness?

2 Comments

So many people today are providing care for a parent, grandparent or other loved one who is struggling with a disease like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc. It can be very difficult, both for the person with the illness and those who are caring for them. If you’re caring for such a person, call and share your story on Wednesday with Jerry and Debbie and the world. Your experience could have a tremendous impact on someone in the same situation.

caring4illness

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2 thoughts on “Are You Caring For Someone With A Debilitating Illness?

  1. The topic of this program is the story of my life. When my dad passed away when I was 9-1/2 years old, my uncle pulled me aside and said that I was the “man of the house” now. If growing up isn’t confusing enough, this was the trajectory of my whole life. My mother was poorly educated and couldn’t keep a job. Those were the days when she was sexually harassed at two factory jobs she had.

    the only stability in my childhood was Catholic school and being an altar server for 8 years. Because of our family poverty, I got a free ride scholarship at a big ten school. After graduation, I was a conscientious objector during the Viet Nam war and served two years of alternate service. My first college major did not really prepare me for a career, and I had to get a second degree in a technical area, to finally secure a job with really only modest pay and benefits. I also had to leave my mom for 16 years and live in another nearby state.

    At some point, my sibling declared that I had to quit my job and take care of mom, because (sibling) was not only “done” with caring for her (running tasks) but (sibling) divorced herself from the family — “live your own life, I’ll live mine.” The earliest I could detach myself from my job was at age 51 (retiring at 51, a blessing in disguise), with a small pension and health benefits ( I have multiple chronic illnesses — taking care of myself plus my mom). Hypothetically, I had to forego about $1.5 million in gross pay to leave work and take care of mom for 12 years until her death. All but the last three months my mom was living at home, until three major diseases were closing in on her (diabetes with advanced kidney disease, carotid artery blockage [inoperable], and aortic stenosis [inoperable]).

    All the career decisions I had to make, all the study, moving to another state and coming home, were, I believe, mediated by the intercession of the Holy Spirit. Life was passing by quickly but paradoxically in slow motion, too. I was so blessed along the way, despite the family opposition. My (sibling) refused to help me take care of my mom one time for 48 hours (in over a 12 year period) so that I could get a medical procedure done at a distant major medical facility. (“If I die, I die.”) I was not close to being “perfect” in caring for my mother. There were “issues” between mom and me, like there were issues between mom and my (sibling). During the 16 years away, I ran up big phone charges calling my mom (eventually) every day and I had to drive 325 miles(one way) to get back to check on her, every other weekend and holidays. Thank God, I managed to be with my mom on average 1 out of every 7 days over most of that 16 years BEFORE I came home altogether. (my aging dog was so happy that I came home, too.)

    I watched my dog get sick and put down. I watched my mother get sicker as time went by. It was difficult to put her in a nursing home, when she was so sick I could not care for her (internal bleeding). The sequel is that I have a diminished pension and social security to live on, so I’m not traveling like my contemporaries, for example. Every day was and is God’s gift of life and love. I have had a somewhat difficult but “abundant life.”

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    • Richard,

      Thanks for sharing your beautiful testimony. You have made many sacrifices, and we are sure the Lord will bless you for doing so. You have really inspired us with your selfless generosity. Please keep us in your prayers, and know that you will remain in ours.

      God bless you!

      Jerry and Debbie

      Like

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