Tag Archives: seniorcare

Instrument of Your Hands

Lord, make me an instrument of your hands with care for my mother in her now season of life.

When she’s impatient, help me to be patient.

When she’s anxious, help me to be peace.

When she worries, help me to show faithfulness.

When she is angry, help me with self control and gentleness.

Lord, help me to not be overcome by the weight of this journey you have us on. For through it, it is not only to tend to her needs but lessons in selflessness and trusting your will I am to learn.

On Mom’s time

My Mom has a rare condition where she has a naturally grown shunt in her liver. The doctor said she was born with it. But over time and at her senior age, her body is beginning to work against it. This means her ammonia levels are always high. Now after, four years of pretty much the same treatment, the medicine (at times) is not enough.

This year, my sister and I, see her struggling more. There is a fine line on whether her behavior is all due to the ammonia or could be mental issues like a decline in her cognitive skills.

On a recent trip, my mom, sister, and I shared, she showed signs that concerned us. Signs that we were thinking could be dementia. Thanks to God on our return from trip, Mom had an appointment lined up with her neurologist. At this time, after an MRI, it has been ruled out.

Now that we know her condition is all due to the ammonia, we’ve been told to keep an eye on her different than before. When she hits those high levels, she’s unaware it’s happening. Life has changed once again. My sister and I no longer feel comfortable in leaving her alone. We also know the control we somewhat had in our day with her has taken another twist. Days, like I’m about to describe, made time stop.

First let me rewind a bit and describe our typical day. We would do some routine errands like going to Walmart. What typically would take 30 minutes would run into an hour or so. Trying to get her to do what she needed quicker time was my aim. I would lose my patience since it would take a while for her to decide what she was looking for or her physical movement would slow her. It wasn’t that I didn’t care about helping her do what she wanted or needed to do, it’s just that I wasn’t seeing the bigger picture.

Now turning to this more recent outing, we had already been in the store for some time. Her focus was off as she would drift in thought of why she was there. We were coming down a main aisle and approached a display of artificial flowers. These were no where on her list, but she wanted to suddenly get some for her room. As I see her reaching to grab some, it just hit me. The distance from me to her changed. I felt a pull in my heart. The conviction came in strong. That I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. That these flowers were the only thing that mattered. And my whole vision by the grace of God showed me its importance.

I don’t care anymore. I don’t care how long it takes to do routine things with my mom. I don’t care that she asks me the same questions every time we go there or anywhere. “Should I buy this?” “Should I take my sweater?” “Do you think it’s cold in there?” “Have you checked the mail?”

I’m grateful too my sister and I are honest with her with this all. Explaining what the doctor found and what we’re seeing in her. She acknowledged she’s glad too even though we know she may not fully comprehend what it means.

My prayer now to Our Lord is that He will grace her with better health and that her condition does not get worse. That my family and I can be attentive to make her live the rest of her life with comfort and peace. And if my life, my sister’s life, family’s life is just to respond to her – that we push ours aside for her well being, then we do. I know we just want her to be cared for and safe.

I thank my husband and thank God a million times more because He knew how much I would need Ruben. Not just for the sake of my soul, but for this time in my life. My mom too.

Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” – John 21:18

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Help us Lord! Help us draw nearer to you. +++

Vocation and God’s gifts

Here I am Lord, help me to find purpose in this life!

Have you ever prayed and prayed and are so willing for it but don’t know what it is? Yes, that’s me.

After being employed with a great company from the start of my marriage until having to quit due to my lupus (2003), I have always tried to keep busy in some way. So after receiving the desire to learn more about my Catholic faith, helped me become aware of the needs of the Church. So I sought out volunteer work.

I remember I started with prison pen pals.  A ministry where you were given names, age, of women to whom you could write to for spiritual guidance. I took this very seriously and really wanted to make the young women know I was praying for them.  I also had volunteered for a ministry where I would send aid and letters to a young girl in Pakistan.  I would receive pictures of her as years would go by and letters letting me know how she was doing.

At our Church, they had an ad in the bulletin about a need for crisis pregnancy center volunteers to help young women receive pregnancy tests and guidance to choose life for their unborn child. I signed up! I knew right away this is what I wanted to do.  I loved it and truly felt the Holy Spirit. I volunteered at Crisis Pregnancy for a few years.

I then volunteered at a food pantry called Paz de Cristo.  I loved the service they provided and volunteered part-time but then later took on a paid part-time position.  I was there two years assisting in all areas food stock, data entry, odds and ends.  At this time, I felt my health was getting a bit better where I could gauge how I would feel, so felt the courage to apply at the Diocese of Phoenix. I applied in the Human Resources department and God once again allowed me the desires of my heart.  I was working full-time and felt like I was back on track in the workforce.  I was doing well but knew I wanted to be closer to the faith and it’s education. That’s when I was offered a position in Family Catechesis.  This position paid less but the rewards were there!  I loved the group of people I worked with and learned so much about the faith. I was happy going to work and never complained what it asked of me.IMG_9384[1]At this time it was 2008. Once again, all of it changed. I caught C-Diff. A bacterial infection that cleans out your intestines of good bacteria and because of my lupus did so in quick fashion.  My system antibodies do not know how to fight and so they attack the good causing my system to shut down.  I was hospitalized for five days. Hospital doctor told my husband I could have died. I was given a strong antibiotic that to this day I pray I never have to take again because I am educated now on what I can do if needed. Even though I had a supportive boss, the setup for me to work from home or have any flexibility to hold onto my position was becoming a problem. I then quit and turned my attention to bettering my health.  For two years after the infection, I was still dealing with physical and emotional effects.  I was told by a friend who is a psychologist that I had PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder.  I had many restless and anxious nights. The fear of what it did to me caused my faith to grow in a new way – once again.

Back to vocation, since I no longer worked a desk job or received a check from an employer I have found ways to participate in this world with skills I have learned. So after a career in human resources and different work within the Diocese (administrative clerk work), I used some of the talent I gained and opened up a print design business from my home.

I received small jobs from time to time assisting in invitations, programs, business cards, flyers, posters, procedural manuals, etc.  Most of the work I did came from organizations within the Diocese – ministries, conferences, pro-life groups, youth education. It allowed me to do the work from any place at any time. Even with that flexibility, Our Lord always knew when I could take on work. Great thing is that when life challenges came, I wouldn’t have any work and then when life had time to focus on something, I would get work. It “worked” like that for three years.  It was great!!

But after a go at running this small business for these few years and I no longer had the passion for it, I knew it had reached its end.

Not that I no longer help out others like the Diocese, friends and/or family with print needs.  From time to time they come in and I’m just grateful to help.  However, because I didn’t find myself being aggressive enough and/or life events would take precedence, I decided it’s run was over.  I was happy in what I did produce but knew it was time for change.

I went through prayer asking the Lord to put in me something new.  So on one night I was watching TV and found a program speaking about atrocities done to the elderly in adult assisted living homes, a desire started to brew in my heart.

I knew I did not have the education or experience to become a caretaker but wasn’t sure that was where I wanted to be.  Then one day I saw a need for prayer aides for hospice facilities.  I knew this was it.  I took the training and began this volunteer need.  Right away I was taken by the reality of speaking to someone who was near death. Literally meeting them and then knowing next time I would come back to the hospice they would no longer be alive.  I’ll never forget the faces I looked at or the small conversations I had. I always prayed before I entered the building and prayed when I found them sleeping.  And I would always leave with more strength in my faith then when I arrived.

At this time, this is now on hold. After my Mom moving in and the many doctor appointments we had to go to, I could no longer be responsible for my shift. So I had to put it on hold.  I don’t know if I’ll be back at it again but I know for sure it had purpose!

I’m now praying for the vocation I am now in with my Mom.  People have told me that’s why I was sent for training for the hospice, because of my Mom.  I believe that and I’m still praying for His will to be done knowing … there is something else coming.

Why I share all of this is because none of these positions I held or volunteer work I did would have ever been on my radar if it wasn’t for my deeper conversion. Once I asked Jesus into my life, he took me to places where I could help and receive spiritual growth! Benefiting both the places where I helped and in turn helped me. We all have gifts and if you open your heart to the Holy Spirit, He will lead you. How I learned that lesson from the gospel and from Saint teachings!

Lord Jesus, may Your will be done!+++

Seasons

My husband and I have been married for 20 years. We have no children but try to be in our nephews and nieces lives giving them guidance and/or any support. We’ve never had to take care of any child more than a day and had teenagers stay with us but then go back home to their parents after a week.

So at the end of 2015, it became an instant learning experience, when my Mom moved in with us.

For about a year, my sister and I found ourselves in more stress about my mom’s living conditions. She was living in her home along with my 29-year-old nephew. At first, seemed like a great idea since we took him to be reliable in “watching over her”. See my sister and I both live in other cities.

But things started to drastically change.

She was sent to the ER with peculiar symptoms that resulted in liver issues. Her symptoms were slow and/or slurred speech, disoriented, slow movement, and heavy sleeps.

IMG_9382Due to other issues that surrounded her health, my sister and I felt it best to have her move out of her home and move in with my husband and I. My sister who lives in a more rural area, knew Mom would receive better medical help in Arizona.

However, the change for her was quick even though we had been giving her much time to go over what was coming. To us, our minds were able to distinguish, but for her it didn’t come in that same manner.

In the months following, not only were we trying to find out reason for her health symptoms but she was going through depression of not being in her home and her home town. She never lived anywhere else but Tucson, AZ.

I, too, found myself trying to get used to the new life my husband and I now have. What we had before has changed some. For me, more so, since I’m concerned with her day-to-day. It was getting to be much that for a few months, the stress was getting to me. Waking up with clenched teeth/locked jaw. Trying to compensate her day with things I thought could take away the void she had.  Missing her home, her grandchildren, her family who all lived in the same city.  It was much to let go.

Moreover, not only the change our household living changed, emotional change, but the responsibility of caring for someone was new to me. At 45 years of age, I have never cared for anyone in this way other than for ourselves but we have always lived very simple.

At first, I didn’t think how much it would change our lives. Not in a burden type of way, but our communication, our time alone. There are times when I get nervous or anxious because I fear losing touch with my husband since I’m still learning how to focus on multiple things. It’s like I am concerned for both of them trying to please everyone under our roof.

Part of me finding courage to write this blog is due to this now situation in my life. How my faith is very much of a part of it and praying for God’s will since I thought I was going in a different direction.

I know my Mom is with us for a reason. Not just for a place to stay. Our Lord works in ways that help us confront areas of our lives that we otherwise may not pay attention to.  I need to be aware of that. My husband and I can learn much.

I know my prayer life can be better. It always can, right? Not wanting to cause more stress in my marriage or home, I need to be armored up.

So for those of you who are in a similar situation where you are now caring for a parent, reversed roles, share with me your prayers, success to overcome difficulties, your support, etc. It’s all still very new to me and all I want is to have peace in our home and serve God outside of it too! +++