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.Caregiver of the Month
October 2001

Big guy with moustache...son, David....Lady in black w red scarf... daughter in law, Janice...little one, grand daughter, Caroljean...lady in blue sweater...daughter in law, Cris...and the guy with all the hair...son, Jay. Of course on the right are Glen and myself. Cris and Jay are the ones at home with us now. Our daughter, Nancy and son in law Ken were not able to be here for the wedding.

How Life Has Changed

In order for me to tell you how my life has changed; I think I must first tell you how it used to be. I met my husband through an ad in the paper. No, not a ? personals? ad, but one entitled ?Home Workers Needed.? I had just moved to the LA area, a country girl fresh from the hills of WV. Common sense told me to be careful of ads such as these; but with two small boys to take care of, working at home seemed ideal. I answered this ad by phone, and of course my first question concerned the type of work I would be doing. Nothing could have prepared me for the answer.... "Making moustaches." There were at least 15 seconds of dead silence. Finally I said that I ?thought that was something you grew, not something you made!?

Turns out that my future husband designed and made all kinds of hairpieces both for the studios and for public sale. That little 3- liner ad began a lifetime of working with a man who was so talented, so loving, so giving and just all around good. We spent the next 30 years joined at the hip, working and living together like right and left hands, with neither of us knowing which hand we were! It got to the point, when designing or fixing a hairpiece or some other work of art (or any job for that matter), .you couldn't tell where one left off and the other began. Then, nearly 3 years ago, my husband fell ill and I began life with one hand tied behind my back.

My husband's name is Dalton Glenle Rose. I have always called him Glen. When Glen became ill, my focus suddenly went from living and working daily, to what I could do to help him get better. At first there was no definitive diagnosis and no reason to believe he would not get better and get back to normal; but as time passed and he continued to lose weight, I began preparing myself for the worst. The doctors told me that he was terminal, although they could not say exactly what was wrong, They had decided it was cancer even though they could not find it.

Well, it turns out that he did not have cancer, but a blockage in his small intestines. This was not discovered, however, until he had dropped from 175 pounds to 93 pounds. The damage that had been done while he went through this and the diagnosis of emphysema had left him unable to work, to drive, and in need of constant care. There are great holes in his memory...places we lived, things we did.

Now my life is dedicated to caring for him and seeing that his life is as comfortable and pleasant as possible. There's not much time left for artwork or any of the things we used to do. I'm not sure I would have the heart for it anyway, as I would now have to do this alone. My daily life now seems to be filled with a never-ending set of tasks, starting with my job on the graveyard shift. Then it?s home to a round of medications and breakfast, bathing, cleaning clothes, cleaning up in general and snatching a nap somewhere along the line to prepare for the next graveyard shift.

That's how my life has changed physically, but the worst, I think, is the loss of my daily partner. The people who know us never thought of us in terms Pat or Glen, but in terms of Glen and Pat, or Pat and Glen. Where you saw one of us, you saw the other. It was just the way we lived. Still holding hands after 30 years together. It's not even possible to walk down " memory lane" because he doesn't remember a lot of things. At this point, I would like to say that I am also blessed in that he is still very loving and appreciative of everything I try to do for him.

I did learn to let go and let God. That lesson has been very important to me because now, instead of worrying about the little things, I can just be grateful for every moment we have left together?. whether it be another minute, an hour a day or another year or more. Having prepared for him to die when he was so close and then having him returned to me again has shown me that a person only goes when it is God?s time and not when a doctor or anyone else says it's time. So now we accept every day as a gift from God and don't worry about tomorrow.

Another great blessing has been this site. Despite my natural optimistic outlook, I was feeling more and more isolated as time went by. When a person's vision becomes so narrowed to the task at hand for a long enough period of time, you began to feel that you are totally alone in the world and there's no one left to talk to. There are plenty of people around you; but you are separated from them because they can't relate to what you are doing or going through. This site has put me in touch with people who have been there and done that. In a lot of cases, these people have it a lot worse than I do, and it has served to put my own circumstances back into perspective.

Lest this sounds though I feel my life is over, please know that I feel blessed in a lot of ways. Glen and I have had 33 years together, with 30 of those years living, loving and laughing together. While the last 3 years have had their hardships, we are blessed to still be together. I haven't had to put him in a nursing home or be separated from him except for relatively short hospital stays. That has been more than a lot of people have and I grateful for that. I am blessed also to have my son and daughter-in-law here so that when I go out on that night shift job, they are here to keep him from staying alone. The blessing of their assistance has kept me from having to consider a nursing home.

Gail, this is slowly turning into a book; so let me finish this by saying God bless you for founding this site and giving all of us a place to connect and to know we as caregivers are not alone. It goes a long way in helping caregivers care for themselves.

May God bless and keep all caregivers everywhere...Pat

PS. I have discovered one other bright light in this. I have found a product known as blue green algae. It comes in capsule form and I give this to Glen with his medications morning and night. He's only been using this product about 2 months, but already I see a much better appetite, more energy, and a light in his eyes that has long been absent. Now he wants to go camping! This is something we did a lot of when we were raising the kids. It will take a lot of planning which is in the works, .so if he doesn't back out on me, we?ll at least see an overnight camping trip before the weather gets cold. We went to a casino on his birthday in August and won a few hundred on nickel poker machines. That's another thing that he has a renewed interest things aren't ALL bleak. We do have some bright spots!

Copyrighted by Pat Rose September 2001

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