Thursday, December 06, 2007

Caregiving: plastic baby Jesus, forgive me

Certainly there are more significant measuring tools for life, but tacky Christmas lawn displays oddly provide a unique window to our story.


Pre-Multiple Sclerosis and in the earliest years, I confess, I was one of those obsessive types who created electrical wonderlands. Even written up in the local paper with holiday homes to drive by. <grin> 


With MS progression and as caregiver demands increased Christmas lawn displays faded and eventually disappeared.


“Disposable” time for hobbies or fun is a luxury in caregiving.


Last night I was tooling away creating and said to myself, “Self why not go pick up Patti and include her?” … I never got another moment to spend on decorating. <grin>


Patti wanted nothing to do with sitting outside in the snow holding strings of lights. I can’t leave her unattended in the house, so inside we came. … and the worse case scenario began to play out a bowel accident.


Weight lifters in gyms may think nothing of dead lifting their body weight but let me tell you, dead lifting a human is not like a barbell. I weigh 172, Patti weighs 150. I have to lift her out of her chair and onto a bed to change her.


Undressing, changing, and dressing an infant is similar only in concept to caring for an adult. The physical demands are exponential.


When finished I must again dead lift her back into her wheel chair and begin clean up and a couple loads of laundry.


What was I doing?? … Oh yeah! For some insane reason decorating the lawn. And if Patti wasn’t enough I had to go to war with plastic baby Jesus to change his light bulb.


As I was threatening plastic baby Jesus after he bit me and my finger is bleeding, Megan laughs, “Dad I think you are loosing the Christmas spirit.”


Then Patti looks at the finished lawn display and remarks, “It’s cute but I really only want a cigarette.”  (????)


Why do I try? … perhaps I find sanity in snow falling on tacky lawn displays. <grin>

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer


  1. The older I get, the less I want to do the decorating bit. But I do admire them when others put them up. When I consider the amount of time allotted me for the next few weeks, putting up decorations that will only last until the day after Christmas doesn't make sense. I can think of more rewarding chores and activities than decorating my house with plastic, trees, and lights. It's a lot of work to haul all that stuff down from the attic (we have to climb a ladder to get up there), set it up (branch by branch), string the lights (aagh the worst part!) then add the ornaments. WHy????? It seems meaningless to me at the moment. I'll give gifts, and celebrate Jesus' birthday, but decorating seems more and more a bother. Perhaps it's because there are no children around my house anymore... that may be one reason for my lack of enthusiasm. I've got to find a different way to mark this tradition in my home. I'll come up with something and let you know. bea

  2. :) you're wonderful, wonderfully special and so is made me smile the both of you. Rache

  3. i love the decorations:) enjoy your weekend


  4. On my "To Do" list for the weekend includes dragging out the Christmas Decorations. It's almost 5:00 on Saturday and they are still tucked away. Something tells me it won't be finished even if I do get started this weekend!

    The lawn is beautiful! Hopefully, the plastic Jesus is glowing brightly!! <grin>


  5. Jack and I did the tree and decorations as long as we were doing New Year's Open House............but we quit several years ago because it was just too big a job by myself.........and we haven't done anything like that here..........we did have a florist make a large wreath to hang outside of the house........and I did buy a lot of plastic and silk flowers to fill Mom's flower pots that had blooming things in them all year.........I asked a neighbor if it looked too hokie... and before she could answer I said Mom likes it...........and she smiled and said that settled it.......she enjoys the colors and flowers...that is enough!

    We have neighbors who have yard decorations amid the trash and junk in their yard............I just can't believe the attitude of some people in these small towns.  

    I admire your courage with the decorations  and  continuing to bring Patti into the family is good for Megan and Patti.......I hope you don't injure yourself and slow down all the good times............will think good thoughs for you.

  6. You know exactly why, Patrick, and thankfully you share it with all.  You're caring for more "plastic baby Jesuses" than you know, my friend.  Please pay attention to your own needs (when you remember you have them) Much love, and bless your sweet spirit, bless your whole family, now carry on as you always do.  xoxo CATHY  

  7. The more I read and the more I come to know you the more I am amazed. You are the most incredible human being I have had the pleasure of knowing and if I were in your neck of the woods for your upcoming birthday I would hug your neck.

    You are dear, sweet and kind soul and I'm happy to have crossed paths with you.



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