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A caregiver's turnabout and a thank you

Bonnie Simmerman • Apr 8, 2018 at 8:15 AM

Several years ago, my husband fell during a January snowstorm and broke his leg. After several days in the hospital and rehab, we brought him home and I became his caregiver.

It was not difficult to cook for him and take care of the things inside the house, but I was quickly reminded of the many things he did for me every day. He had always gotten the morning paper and the afternoon mail. He also took care of the kitchen trash can when it needed emptying. He had taken care of all the outside work around the house, mowing, trimming, and making our yard pretty.

Since we didn’t have to mow at that time of the year, I was spared those tasks; however, I did trim shrubbery in our front yard, and when spring arrived I planted one row of potatoes. I don’t think my row yielded quite as many potatoes as the ones he planted.

Another task that my husband always took care of was the plants he kept in the basement during the winter months under a grow light. My job was to water them regularly. Again, I did not do as good a job as he did, but most of them survived.

We made it through that winter and spring and everything returned to normal. I went back to taking care of things inside the house, and he went back to caring for the outside.

Fast forward to February of this year, and the caregiver role did a turn around. I injured my spine and was unable to do many of the household chores I was accustomed to doing, but my husband stepped up to the task. He has been a wonderful caregiver.

He had to learn how to do many things that he was not used to doing — making coffee each morning, loading the dishwasher and setting it correctly, loading laundry and making sure the right settings were used. I am sure he was glad we have appliances that make those jobs easier. With many wonderful friends and family members who helped with food, he did not have to do too much cooking, and he already knew how to microwave leftovers.

During this time of being unable to do everything for myself, I have realized how important caregivers are. We probably don’t thank them enough for what they do for us.

Whether a mother caring for a disabled child, a daughter caring for a mother with Alzheimer’s, or a nurse caring for a hospital or nursing home cancer patient, all should be shown appreciation. The medical profession has so many different caregivers who do a wonderful job.

Perhaps you could think of someone who is a caregiver for a loved one and you could take time to let them know how much you appreciate what they are doing. I know I greatly appreciate my caregiver and all he has done for me.

Bonnie Simmerman of Jonesborough is a retired elementary school teacher. She can be reached at simmermanb@embarqmail.com.

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed by all Community Voices columnists are their own and do not necessary reflect those of the Johnson City Press.

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