Farmingdale: Is It Back Pain Or Is It Sciatica

Health &Wellness The Newsletter About Your Health And Caring For Your Body

CAREGIVER OF THE MONTH

By Kathy McCormick

Unless someone enters the medical field, I don’t believe anyone starts out wanting to be a caregiver. Going back to July 25, 1964, walking down the aisle and saying, “Yes’ to the vows- “For better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health,• I wasn’t thinking about this part of life. Who is? But, sometimes we find ourselves in this position. In 1997 my husband Bob had his knee replaced. That was when we first met Butch. I never forgot Butch’s words when he told me not to worry, leave that part to him. That was my first caregiving assignment as a wife. In 2010, due to diabetes, he almost lost his foot. But, thanks to a small miracle we found a doctor from Mount Sinai, Dr. Steven Weinfeld, who was able to operate. Bob was sent to a rehab for five months. Caregiving when someone is in rehab is more about being there every day and trying to keep their spirits up mentally. This experience prepared me for our future orthopedic journeys. In 2011 Bob had his other foot reconstructed by Dr. Weinfeld, and required three months in rehab. After each of these trips we always came back to Butch to complete the process. The decision we made at this point, was that neither Bob, nor I, wanted him to go to another rehab. On Nov. 28th 2016 when his left leg collapsed, Butch was the first person I called from the emergency room to get an idea of just how bad it was. He was very up front with me and I will always appreciate that. Bob had a broken knee cap and an infected knee replacement which needed to be replaced. He required an external fixator and was not able to put weight on the leg for five months. When he got ready to leave the hospital, I learned, as a caregiver, to stand up for what I felt was the right decision for Bob, not necessarily the easiest for me, which was to bring him home. The hospital kept telling me I could not do this and that he was better off in rehab. It was mid- December of 2017,

Christmas was two weeks away, and what if this was his last? They kept sending nurses and doctors into the room to reinforce their side of things, but I was determined, and had enough stubbornness in me to win. With three aides in place we began this long process. I learned how to give IV medication along with handling a patient in a hospital bed. My thought back then as a caregiver was how to get through each day. These events drain you physically, mentally, and emotionally. One needs to be very organized. Caregivers need to acknowledge that at times they need a break, even if it is only for a walk around the block. Humor is also very necessary, and understanding that the patient doesn’t want to be in this situation either. Creativity is important. Bob’s birthday came in March and the family put together a show as his present, with candles for atmosphere, announcements and plenty of entertainment. Jean, my daughter, sang. Joe, my son in law, played guitar. The granddaughters played their instruments. Irish music can do a lot for a patient. Bob said it was the best show he ever saw and he did not even get out of bed to see it. Without our Faith, Family and Friends who all visited often, I don’t know howwe would have gotten through it. I learned to take one day at a time, and sometimes one hour at a time and keep reprioritizing each day. I am not unusual. There are many caregivers that I see at Farmingdale who are all in a similar situation. For the most part, we all start out young, happy, and healthy in life and if we are lucky enough to be left on this earth long enough, we usually will end up being a caregiver or receiving care from someone. I consider us blessed as a couple to have such a good family and certainly would not want to walk through this journey without Butch, Scott, Joe, or Hunter -Kudos to all of you.

www.farmingdalephysicaltherapywest.com

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