The costs of care giving pile up. Along with financial obligation, amplified by a disabled person's reduced or eliminated income, there are emotional and physical tolls to pay.
Yesterday I preached in a town about 100 miles to our north. The morning was chilly, but during a very filling lunch after the service, the sun came out and began to warm things up.
Driving back down the interstate the big meal, the sun through the windshield and my perpetual lack of deep sleep got the best of me. I fell asleep at the wheel.
Thank God I had a friend along on this trip (one I usually make on my own). I heard him saying Whoa there and realized his hand was on the wheel with mine, keeping me from veering off the road. We pulled over and he drove the rest of the way.
Melissa tried to let me nap but this, that and the other thing kept me awake. I have a few days off coming, but my mind is occupied with catching up on stuff I let pile up over the last few tired weeks. So sleep remains elusive and, when it comes, is fitful.
Then Joey had a minute long seizure. Melissa got to him first, and his thrashing was so violent that it was all she could do to secure his head and get him on his side to keep his airway open.
So more physical and emotional tolls piled on. Melissa's strain in grappling with the seizure. The rush of adrenaline as we reacted to it, followed by the big crash once things settled down. The frustration with our inability to decode Joey's language - he kept saying Bath with mom, which usually means here's my preference for help with my routines , but this time was an effort to put into words his sense of an oncoming seizure.
Objectively, Melissa and I would agree that our lives are going pretty dang well right now. But the daily nickel and dime tolls of care giving add up.
Timothy Fountain grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Southern California despite having no football skills.
After a stint running a jackhammer and then three years in the Army, he abandoned thoughts of a legal career, attended a seminary in New York City, and devoted almost thirty years to Christian preaching. He and his wife, Melissa, and their two sons, one a lad with autism, moved to South Dakota in 2004.
Tim continues a life of trial and error as a husband, dad, family care giver, preacher and writer.
When autism became part of the Fountain family, their amateur status as caregivers felt like their trial and error efforts at gardening. Outcomes were seldom what they hoped. But with love, spiritual insight and some humor they found inspiration and encouragement to raise their son with special needs. Raising a Child With Autism is Tim’s first book.
Amazon Book Page
Blog: Sometimes Care Giving Stinks