Tag Archives: caregivers

patti needs a tim crawford day every week!

f2fb friend #195 patti schmidt is probably the single most consistent family friend to my boys joseph and eastman.  she works at the winnetka community house devising programs to keep children entertained and educated.   when my boys were growing up, they might run into patti four times a week and every year we do the haunted house together!  i am VERY good at spooking little kids.

i wanted so much to go to one of the fantasy dance classes or the little miss tea parties she devises, but she told me that, at 51 years, i was just forty six years too damn old.

instead, we had our toes painted.  she got blue, i did sparkly silver.  i told her about f2fb friend #73 tim crawford who makes once a week a “tim crawford day” with some attention to grooming, car care, relaxation.  with tim, i had a pedicure too–and he suggested that more people should take one day out of seven to totally devote themselves to themselves.

patti lives at her parental home and her mother has alzheimer’s.  her mother’s disease has progressed so much that she doesn’t really recognize her family members and she can’t care for her personal needs.  patti’s devotion–the devotion of the entire family–is predicated and motivated by the memory of all that mom did before.  the care she gave.  the dinners she made.  the sicknesses she nursed her children through.  the time she took to teach patti and her siblings how to tie a shoe, to ride a bike, to weather a first romantic upset.

patti cares for her mother weekday nights after work and also gives up at least one weekend day for fulltime care.  would i do that for my mom?  my mom put me up for adoption when i was three–if she appeared at my doorstep?  maybe.  and that’s a very soft maybe.

patti needs a once a week “tim crawford day”.

frenchie was the daughter of f2fb friend #99 cristina persico who lost both frenchie and frenchie’s father in the course of one year.  the entrance of the community house has a reminder of the persico family, but also of the entire town’s ability to rally for its citizenry.

i had a great time giggling and gossiping with patti, but i realized that i need to do it more often.  patti gets one hour a day for lunch and sure it’s great to head out for some pampering in her circumstances.  but it’s me who needs it.  i need that friendship.  so i’m making a commitment to seeing patti more often.  if only because OPI sparkle me silver nail polish won’t last forever!

i meet the Defender of the Caregiver

everybody will be a caregiver to someone.  a grandparent, a child, a spouse who has a longterm disability or illness.  but who takes care of the caregiver?  f2fb friend #111 lon kieffer has written a book, given countless talks, and touched people’s lives with one simple message:  that someone who is a caregiver has to make sure to take care of themselves as well. he is the superhero defender of the caregiver.

when i caught up with him in his delaware paradise he shared with me the news about his radio show!

in my divorce agreement, there is a specific written provision that in the event that my ex-husband were to become mortally ill, i promise to become his primary caregiver.  i know is something were to happen to my sons joseph or eastman, i’d be there every day.  i have other people in my life who, were they to need my caregiving, i’d drop everything–even this project–to care for them.  i was a secondary caregiver to my friends the eastmans in their final few years.  and this project has taught me that one day i will be a caregiver to my father justin–and that day is approaching fast.

what about you?

lon works at a nursing home in delaware in order to keep in continued touch with the field of nursing which is, of course, the profession of caregivers.  but he makes sure to walk down to the edge of his property and take his boat out on the nanicote river every evening after work.  sometimes he fishes, sometimes he has dinner with other “river rats” along the way, sometimes he hosts parties on the water, and sometimes he just sits back with a cold one to let the troubles of the day wash away.

i caught some seaweed, a lure, and a log!

i first met lon when he was a caregiver at the nursing and rehab center my grandmother alyce stayed at.  she adored him because he would sit with her and listen to her stories.  sometimes people just want to be heard.

if you want to reach lon, if you’re a caregiver feeling a little stressed, he is happy to hear from you.  find him on facebook either by searching for lon kieffer or defender of the caregiver.  and you can also find him at http://www.lonkieffer.com/

next up, i visit grandma alyce and hear the story of how she and i met for the first time when i was in my early forties.