Who are the Grands?

They are 90 and 93, and they live each day like there is no tomorrow. Because there may not be. Their minds are not what they used to be and their bodies are breaking down bit by bit, but inside those old minds and bodies they are the same independent-minded young people that forged their own way in this world and made a good life for themselves. This is both a blessing and a challenge, as you'll see in the posts below. Welcome to our journey!

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Why Caregivers Do What They Do

The last few weeks with the Grands have not been pretty. These weeks have been exhausting, depressing, irritating, and, well, you get the idea. I am at the point of caregiving where there is nothing left of me to give yet I keep giving. So I give from a space that I didn't know existed.

For the past few weeks, if it hasn't been one thing it has been another. Between Grandpa's symptoms and Grandma's dementia, I have had my hands very very full. It has brought me to the point where I cringe every time I think about all the things I have to do for them. Yet I am driven to continue to do these things by an insane hamster on a wheel inside my head. That hamster has been the only thing keeping me going, but some days I have been seriously considering having him assassinated.

Today, for instance, was a day when I had hoped to have some rest from the wearying tasks that are laid before me. But the hamster told me I had a job to do. I needed to make Grandpa some boxer shorts. Grandpa's waistline continues to expand because the toxins are building up in the spaces between his cells as his liver can no longer do its job properly. This symptom is called third spacing. It has caused Grandpa's waistline to go from a 40 to a 46 in four weeks while he loses weight everywhere else. His face is becoming more gaunt and his legs and arms are pencils, but his waist is ginormous.

There are no shorts big enough to fit him that can also be adjusted for his expanding midsection. So I went to the fabric store, picked out a pattern, found some material, bought the notions, and came home. And today I made him fully adjustable shorts.

I am proud to say that they are the perfect waist size, 46 inches, and they will expand out to 50 inches with the snaps I put on them. Even better, when we took them over to the Grands, they were thrilled. Grandpa said that he was going to show everyone his new shorts tomorrow (he was joking, of course). Steve said Grandpa might want to go to dinner in just his boxers tomorrow (hahaha).

But the proof will be in the pudding. I just hope they are easy for him to use and that they are comfortable. The snaps are snug so now I'm worried that he won't be able to get them undone. I'm worried that they won't fit him right. I only made him one pair just in case there's a problem.

But for now, for today, the Grands are thrilled that I made him that pair of shorts. Grandma was impressed with my handiwork. She may be blind in one eye so that she can't see all my mistakes, but it still means so much to me to hear her praise. Grandpa said he's going to get a special tag for them that say, "Made in America." Seeing them smile and knowing I've pleased them during this incredibly difficult time of their lives is the reason that hamster keeps on living.

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