Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Whew! It's Been a Tough Time ...

Can't believe that I haven't posted in my blog since last October ... then, I thought about what we've been through since that time ... [deep breath] ... Whew! It's been a tough time.

Lynne is much worse ... sad to say.

Big decision ... a really big decision was made. We did a trial run called a respite with Lynne spending 20 days in an Assisted Living facility in West Virginia where she has family. That was back in late February and early March. It was hard for Lynne.

Then, I took her back to Hungary for another MS treatment in Germany among other projects in what I do in Eastern Europe with my non-profit 501[c]3 organization. A married couple, dear friends, Bruce & Deb Heffner came over in April and part of May to help us.

Lynne became weaker with less strength in her legs and arms, but, Deb was a big help for me as we took care of Lynne with her everyday needs. Finally, I began to realize that I could not care for her by myself.

That's hard to admit ... don't like to say it ... it was really wearing on me ... in many ways ... physically, emotionally ... a draining experience in every way.

You know, 40 years ago, Lynne and I made commitments to each other in our wedding ceremony.

Despite my feelings ... I had to admit that I could not lift her up by myself and help her with the bathroom ... shower ... getting her dressed or ready for bed. Just getting her into bed was exhausting--lifting her legs with one arm while providing support for her upper body with my other arm.

Getting her into the car ... oh man! That is hard work. It leaves me gasping for breath ... wipes me out for a few minutes. Hard to explain ... trying to bend her legs at her knees while her legs are straight almost like two logs. That's not a very feminine description, but, this is what it is like. Slowly, the legs begin to release a bit as I "suggest" to her knees applying mild pressure that they need to bend. Then, getting her to be in a position in the carseat with her back completely against the seat ... pilgrim, it ain't easy to do. [Sorry for the incorrect English, but, it seemed to fit.]

A major, major decision had to be made. I could not do my work and care for Lynne 24/7. Yes, I know that she is the priority, but, I came to the realization that she needed better care than what I can provide ... by myself.

What about someone coming in to help me? Tried it. Helpful. Our niece gave us three months of her life to help us out. Foreigners can stay in Hungary, where we live, only for 90 days without a special staying permit like a visa ... and this is complicated to organize. Our friend, the Heffners gave us six weeks ... six weeks! That was huge! But, how many people can do this?

What about paying someone to come in to provide care? Good idea ... wait, I checked the price for this ... groan! Furthermore, finding someone who won't steal and/or who will show up when they are supposed to be there ... time to use that "ain't" word again ... ain't easy to find.

24/7 care? That would take at least five caregivers, minimum ... vacations, time off, blah, blah, blah. Cost? $6,800/month at least.

Guess what? It now takes two people to help Lynne. Remember that I wrote that even I can't do it by myself now and I am still fairly strong. So, two caregivers per shift 24/7 ... try $6,800 times two. Not gonna work!

Decision made [6/11] ... Assisted Living full-time long term care. My stomach was in knots. I felt guilty, I felt bad like I was really letting Lynne down. Yet, it came to me that I was doing what is the best for my wife considering her condition. It took some time, but, I finally accepted this.

How about Lynne? Devastated. Hard for her. Tough! Really tough! She needs prayer ... encouragement.

Deep inside of me I know that she's going to make it ... accept it ... make an impact on those around her. More on this later. I'll keep you posted and I'll try to do so without waiting another year.

Keepin' my chin up!