I don’t often share personal experiences in our newsletter, but I hope you don’t mind that I do today.
I recently had a hip replacement. I was scheduled months ago but it is a good and safe thing that they delay surgery for anyone with a cut or scratch and I, unfortunately, was one who needed a delay. I also needed to overcome the challenge of having worked as a SICU Nurse caring for those with surgical complications. I know, that was 22 years ago and so much is different, but I still had fears! I am also not used to being on the receiving end of caregiving.
No Worries is all about a passion for helping others but what an experience to be the recipient of that passion. Somehow, without my knowing, everyone at our last Inservice was so sneaky and they wrote me messages of encouragement. These messages were rolled up and put in a flower arrangement by Nurse Sheryl, and have meant the world to me.
My surgery went well. I had surgery at 8am and left the hospital at 3:30pm that same day. I have had a pretty smooth course except for not doing well sleeping on my back. I was so tired from not sleeping that on day 7 I started to look for an adjustable bed. I did not have time to order online. I needed a bed yesterday.
I looked online and found Banner Furniture, a family owned furniture store. I liked that because No Worries is family owned and we do things different than a Franchise. I called and the words out of my mouth surprised me, “I just had hip replacement surgery and I have not slept in a week and I am desperate.” The lady on the phone said, “My husband just had hip replacement surgery and I don’t know what we would have done without an adjustable bed.”
I was so grateful for someone who understood what I was going through.
She asked what kind of bed I had and the bed in our guest room would work with an adjustable frame. The frame will be here any minute.
I have new insight into what it feels like to be the patient and the stresses on my caregiver husband. What gratitude I have for his gentle words of, “You can do this (walking into the house after surgery) to the gentle hand on my back as I try to get into a chair, to the offer of hot chocolate and toast when I couldn’t sleep, to jokes to make embarrassing situations endurable, to reminding me of progress, and to giving me a “reward kiss” when I would get out-of-the chair when I didn’t think I could make it.
There have been special moments in the midst of my changing into the master interrupter. Jim would walk through the room and I would need 10 things. I was constantly saying, “I’m sorry” to which Jim put an end to. I was doing all I could to recover and needing help was part of the process. I had to get over a lot of stuff and let things go and focus on the sweet text messages from friends and family. I also asked the neighbor to come over and take care of me so Jim could run some errands and go break.
Caregivers have to take care of themselves or they can’t take care of anyone else. I have taught that as a nurse and now I understand that more than ever.
We are not young and to be up so much at night is hard. I have a new appreciation for the families we work with and their wonderful Family Caregivers and the Clients who so bravely face chronic illness.
Jim has a new appreciation for our No Worries Caregivers because we had to talk through what we would do if he got sick…we know who we would call!
Take Care. Melinda