Creative Caregiving: Be Practical

If you are stuck or confused or overwhelmed because of living with a disease, one way towards wellness is to take one step and do one practical thing.

When a loved one gets sick everything changes.

For me, when Andy was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, the way we’d lived before wasn’t possible anymore. His symptoms stopped him from making jewelry, which was what we did to earn our living. Our housetruck home was no longer a safe place for him to live because it required dexterity he no longer had to climb up and down from the bed and to get over uneven ground to the outhouse.

In our housetruck home there was no place that he could sit and be comfortable. We had designed the space for people to sit on the floor with pillows and that didn’t work for Andy anymore with his shaking body.

For me these changes became overwhelming when it appeared that nothing that we used to do worked.

Eventually, we found our way to lives we loved again and that is the story I write about in Your Wildest Dreams: A Parkinson’s Love Story, but at first we were heading into disaster and had no idea how to get to a better situation.

This is exactly when being practical can be the process that begins to change disaster into something better. “Practical” means ‘of or concerned with the actual doing of something rather than with theory or ideas.’

Being practical with our overwhelming situation allowed us to move forward by taking us out of our heads and into action. Fear disappeared and our energy was spent resolving problems in the short term.

I got Andy an indoor port-o-toilet used in camping. We bought a large chair that took up half our living space, but he could be comfortable. We asked friends  and neighbors to help me with Andy’s care so that I could work even though he couldn’t.

Step by step, moment by moment we implemented practical solutions that resolved our immediate issues. In this way our lives began to stop being overwhelming and slowly started to work again.

Practical steps put one into the present moment, pushing the fear, paralysis and loss away and replacing that with engagement, action and movement.

If you are stuck or confused or overwhelmed because of living with a disease, one way towards wellness is to take one step and do one practical thing.

What step can you take today?

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