In February I started taking care of Joni. She is a sister to Mae Bell who was my visiting teacher. She lives in Louisiana but came here to live for awhile because she had a stroke in November that left her without the use of her right side. She is in a wheelchair. I was hired to help her do her exercises three times a week. They had interviewed 6 other ladies that were probably more qualified than me but I told Joni that I might not be experiecned but I was a fast learner and more importantly............I was a lot of FUN! I was hired! I went to therapy a few times to learn what kinds of exercises I was to do with her to help her be able to walk a bit. It was so educational. If I were younger I'd want to be a occupational therapist or a physical therapist for sure! Anyway..........I learned enough to help Joni about 10-12 hours a week.
It was hard at first because Joni really didn't have a "will" or desire to want to get better. It was so hard for me not to "baby" her. We are all natural caregivers and really want to help. She needed to be able to help herself so she could go back home and live a happy life. She is only 64! We have become such good friends. I don't even consider it a job anymore. We cook together, exercise, play Yahtzee, go on walks around the neighborhood, and talk a lot! It has been very rewarding for me.
This past week, Joni got fitted for a brace. It has been a lot of work to get her to this point. She can actually walk from the bedroom to the kitchen and also the bathroom! She has to use a cane and I have to be holding her belt at the small of her back just in case her leg would give out. So far the goal is for her to walk well enough to go back home and live on her own. It has been such an awesome experience to see her come so far.
Now meet Beth..........
Beth is my Bishop's mother. Bishop's parents are from Tennessee. Bishop was planning to move them here to live in his home because they were unable to care for each other anymore. His dad, 91, passed away suddenly a few months ago. They moved Beth here just 7 weeks ago. She is a sweet 84 year old who has lost her husband and her home and all of her close friends in just 8 weeks.
Bishop had asked me several months ago if I'd like to help with his parents when they moved here in the summer. Things changed as they do and I got a phone call from Bishop asking me if I was still interested. Thank goodness Beth lives just a few blocks from Joni and I can help both of them.
I met with Beth a few months ago. She is very particular! Thanks to her humor.........it will be fun! She makes me laugh with all her tall tales and is very delightful to be around. She can still get around slowly but she can't see hardly at all. She takes a lot of pills! Hopefully I can keep them all straight. I will go to her home at 9:00 every morning and help her eat, bathe, and put her hair up (that's a funny story I'll tell later). Then I'll go to Joni's for a few hours and then back to Beth's to help her get lunch and listen to her stories. It is very rewarding! I am learning a lot of patience and compassion. This will be another wonderful experience to add to my collections of life. Another area to grow in! More opportunities to learn about life through the eyes of these two sisters.
This is where we sit after our work is done! We do crossword puzzels and I read her some letters from Sister Hinkley's book of life letters. They all seem to strike a memory in Beth and she will go on to tell me her own stories. Most the time I love it but there are several days when I can hardly keep my eyes open. I know she can't see well but I would be so sad if she actually knew my eyes were closed or worse..........I fell asleep!