She’s One in a Million!!

This week was indescribable! Not only was it the week for my huge quarterly class at work, but I was also expecting my new bed to be delivered, I had two presentations and one board meeting after work and my contractor was supposed to finish up the work he was doing on my patio and sunroom.

All of that was manageable. The thing that was most scary about this week for me was the fact that yesterday was supposed to be the best caregiver on earth’s last day at Lifesprings Eldercare. Her name is Janet Wright. I met Janet in November 2018 when Mom moved to house #2 of Lifesprings. I didn’t know it then, but she was new to that house just like Mom, and they bonded immediately.

No matter when I visited, which was OFTEN, Janet was in control. She seemed to know every resident’s medicines and likes and dislikes by heart. She knew how to soothe each resident, how to calm them and how to entertain them. I was always in awe of her! She and I also hit it off right away. I always looked forward to seeing Mom at Lifesprings, but also seeing Janet. We’ve been through so much together – Mom getting out of the facility and falling down at the end of the end of the block last year, her three seizures, two hospitalizations, four broken ribs and a broken clavicle this summer.

Whenever something happened to Mom, Janet felt it as if it was happening to her or her own family. She cried when I went to the facility in person to tell her that Mom’s fall earlier that week resulted in the broken ribs. When Mom came home from the hospital she was not the same. Her legs were weak and Janet single-handedly coaxed and coached Mom to her current stable condition. Janet even checked on Mom one night at 2am and found her oxygen levels were low and called 911. Who gets up in the middle of the night to check on residents? If it wasn’t for Janet, Mom wouldn’t be here.

A few months ago I found out that Janet’s husband is on dialysis and needs lots of care himself. I wondered how she could be so focused on the Lifesprings residents when she had a very serious illness in her own family. Right around the same time Mom was hospitalized, Janet’s husband was too. Janet lives an hour away from Lifesprings and after her husband’s hospitalization she began to look for a position closer to her home and her husband. She shared that information with me and I was cheering for her to be closer to her home and family. The possibility also terrified me. It was Janet who got Mom and all of the other residents through the four-month COVID lockdown unscathed! Who was going to take such great care of the residents and give them their all like Janet did? Given her amazing skills, Janet found another position very quickly. She was originally scheduled to leave Lifesprings on Oct 17th. My heart started to beat fast as the date approached. As the weather is getting colder and our backyard visits end, I couldn’t help but think that without Janet, will Mom still be here at the end of the winter?

No replacement was found by the 17th so Janet changed her departure date to Oct 30th. She spent time training a couple of people but knew that neither of them would be suitable for Lifesprings. I was sooo happy for Janet that she’d found a job walking distance from her home with a better salary. I got a beautiful thank you card for her from me and Mom and tried to prepare myself for her last day.

And then a MIRACLE! Janet ended up turning down the other job to stay at Lifesprings. She told me she LOVED THEM TOO MUCH to just leave them with anybody! And her husband approved! I cried when she said that and even now, my feelings are all over the place!! I’m relieved and feel so Blessed that our guardian angel will still be providing phenomenal care to our loved ones! But I’m also sad that this amazing woman sacrificed her own family to stay with ours. I’m not going to take her staying at Lifesprings for granted! I plan to continue to tell her how important and valuable she is to our loved ones AND to US! I hope you are fortunate enough to know a caregiver like Janet who gives their absolute all every single day! Not everyone is built to be a caregiver and there is no question that only a few are ONE IN A MILLION LIKE JANET!


Crossing Things Off the Bucket List!

While our lives continue to be filled with stunning news on a daily basis, I came to Chincoteague Island VA to chill out (socially-distanced style) with my RVing Women sisters and to hopefully cross something off my bucket list. Having never seen a rocket launch other than on TV, one was scheduled to occur this weekend from NASA’s Wallops Island a few minutes drive from where we are staying. Originally scheduled to launch on Thursday night, the countdown got all the way down to T-2 minutes before being aborted. But last night was different, and at 9:16pm we all stood in awe as we watched from across the island a huge orange ball light up the sky and head towards heaven. It then turned towards us and literally came right over our heads causing the ground to shake!!! It’s hard to describe how incredible it was unless you were there! I cheered along with the crowd and prayed that Tim was watching from heaven since we tried several times without success to see a space shuttle launch in person! I pray the rocket arrives safely at the space station to drop off the 8,000 pounds of supplies it was carrying!

Then this morning I was able to cross off another bucket list item, to ride a bike more than 10 miles, including riding off the beaten path! At 7:30am my friend Sue and I headed down to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, riding on paved paths, gravel, rocks and sand along the way!! It was a brisk morning with bright sun and I can’t imagine a better day for our trek!! My favorite part was the trail that took us down a path that was so narrow we had to get off our bikes and walk. When the trail opened up again, we found ourselves alone at the beach and we both stood there marveling at how lucky we are to make these God-given discoveries. I knew that like me Sue always traveled alone to the RVing Women events, but I didn’t know until today that she too is a widow. We stopped for coffee, donuts and cinnamon rolls on the way back to the campground and I truly needed the rest!! Whew!! Our total for our adventure was 13 miles! Another bucket list item gone! I’m thrilled with my bike I bought at the last camping trip and I’ll keep on riding to new places!!

The one thing on my bucket list I still can’t cross off yet is for a cure to be found for Alzheimer’s disease. It continues to take more of my Mom each day! In the last week her legs have started to shake badly, she doesn’t want to move her legs forward to walk and most concerning is that she’s starting to forget what to do with the meals placed in front of her! Anyone who knows my Mom knows how much she LOVES to eat, especially dessert!! So when I was told that she has to be promoted to eat and sometimes need assistance, it’s becoming crystal clear that she’s losing more of her brain function as each day passes! I’m going to keep praying for the day when my bucket list item for a cure for Alzheimer’s can be crossed off! I’m smart enough to know it’s increasingly unlikely that it will occur in time to help Mom, but will certainly help millions of others! In the meantime, I’ll continue to show Mom all the pics I take and the stunning things I’m able to see and experience so she can experience them with me! Every now and then when she sees something she likes she can still say Wow!! I hope the photos and video clips I’ve taken this weekend, especially of the rocket launch will bring about one more WOW from Mom when I see her next! Even through our masks and sitting six feet apart we can still enjoy adventures together and I thank God for every day we have left to do that!

Stay well and safe my friends! Let others know you love them every chance you get!