In an interview with AARP some years back, they mentioned so many people serving as caregivers don’t necessarily see themselves or identify as a caregiver. They asked, “How do people know if they are indeed a caregiver?”
The question struck me as hilariously funny, and lapsing into my best Jeff Foxworthy impression, I quipped, “If you have a professional carpet cleaner on retainer …you’re probably a caregiver.”
Bursting into laughter, they suggested Jeff and I do a routine based upon that. Later asking Jeff if he wanted to do it, he said, “Sure — write out some jokes and we’ll put something together.”
Feigning outrage, I laughed back at him, I said, “Hey, these aren’t jokes. This is my life!”
From “…using Neosporin as verb” to “…being the one asking for a price check on suppositories at the grocery store” to “…hooking up our dog to my wife’s wheelchair just to see if it would work” (I have footage) — hilarious moments can exist in the life of a caregiver.
We certainly cry enough tears, but do we chuckle and laugh enough? Sadly, no.
More than three decades into our own medical challenges, my wife and I have learned to see the lighter side and find humor and joy — even in harsh circumstances.
Wheeling her home from her 80th surgery last year, I pushed Gracie into a large crowded elevator at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The occupants immediately stared at her. Granted, she’s a beautiful woman, but her metal prosthetic legs prominently appeared below her hemline. An amputee for several decades, she’s somewhat used to that, but to add “injury to injury,” her arm rested in a sling following the operation that morning on a nerve near her elbow.
Watching the elevator passengers unabashedly gawking at her, I decided to have some fun and loudly lamented, “Worst hysterectomy ever!”
Although Gracie tried to hide a smile while rolling her eyes at my goofiness, the elevator occupants all flinched and immediately and found something interesting to see on their collective shoes.