– RELIEF #2 –
Caregiver Word of the Day

IMG_1121When we met with the surgeon yesterday he said, “I have good news, Alex. There is a surgical solution to your pain. I can fix your back.”

Because of recent advances in back surgery he will be using a new method. The incision will be just an inch-and-half in length. Using a microscope and very precise instruments, it will take about two hours to redo the “fix” from the surgery Alex had four years ago and to repair this new problem.

I can’t even begin to express how happy we were to hear this prognosis. The only downside is that the first opening on his schedule is August 7 (Alex’s birthday). Right now two more weeks seems like an eternity, but knowing that there is relief in sight makes it a little more bearable.

This morning I woke up to the sound of rain. I experienced another happy moment of relief when the fresh, cool scent wafted in through the open window. We’ve been through a long stretch of dry, hot, sunny days. The hydrangeas have been drooping their sunburnt blossoms, and in spite of getting watered regularly, everything in our yard has looked stressed. (Sort of like me.)

Alex’s recovery will take about six months. Because he has arthritis in parts of his spine, he will never be completely pain free, but it will be manageable, and he will be able to resume most of the activities he has enjoyed in the past.

Relief comes in different ways. My friend Linda lost her 98 year-old uncle yesterday. I first met her six years ago when I spoke at a local event. Her tears flowed freely that day. She told me later that she was caring for five elderly family members and that morning she had slammed her thumb in the car door. One by one, her relatives have died. I know she has grieved the loss of each one of these people, but she was kind, generous, loving and helpful beyond what anyone could have ever asked for or expected.

My hope for Linda now is that she will experience more relief than grief and that she will feel good about all she has done to help her family members through the final stages of their lives. My wish for her today is that she will be able to enjoy many, many years of good health and grand adventures. She certainly deserves it!