Ramblings of a Caretaker

My ramblings are about being a caretaker. My wife of 35 years has a Parkinsonian disorder. She does not have an exact diagnosis yet, but her current movement disorder specialist suspects it is corticobasal degeneration after reviewing her symptoms and scan images. This is a cruel slowly debilitating disorder, but my wife’s spirit is strong in the Lord. She smiles and laughs at her messiness. She prays with tears. How is God answering her?
My wife often needs my help. She calls upon me to open small packages for her. She cannot use scissors. She struggles to connect her iPhone to a charger. She shakes. I help. She eats sloppily. She doesn’t want to eat in pubic. Sometimes I feed her. She doesn’t cook anymore. Fortunately, she can walk, but her brain-to-feet connection doesn’t work when going up or down stairs. She would fall without holding on to me or a railing. It’s a fear of falling. I help her shower because I don’t want her to fall. I help her clean body parts she cannot reach. (Yes, we enjoy being intimate in the shower. The disorder has not stopped us from enjoying intimacy.) I comb her hair. I help her put toothpaste on her toothbrush.
Sometimes I say “No.” She asks me to do something for her and I say “No, you need to try to do that. You need to struggle with it. If I do everything for you then it wears me out and you forget how to do things.” Everything takes more energy for her to do so she gets tired, but sometimes she gets lazy. So, I say “No. I think you can do that. I will show you a better way to do it.” I often help her dress because she’s slow and I’m impatient. Sometimes I let her struggle with clothing. When we’re getting ready for church, I help her dress. I must get to church on time.
Sometimes I get impatient as her caretaker. When I get impatient, I ask myself, “Would I rather be the caretaker or have the disorder?” I think you know the answer. It may not be an appropriate question, but it keeps me honest and serving her. If the roles were switched, then she would not be able to do for me what I do for her. If God has anything to do with this disorder, then at least He got this right.
When I get impatient, I think about how God gave us to each other 35 years ago. A boy from Western PA met a girl from Hong Kong. We met serving the Lord and became soul mates. God blessed us with three children. I pray for the health and strength to take care of my wife. It hurts me to see her struggle. I hold her and want her to be healed. I made a promise to her 35 years ago, and as God gives me health and strength, I will be her compassionate caretaker.

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