Respite Penthouse


From the way they fill out their reservations most visitors to the Respite Penthouse are couples on the down side of forty.  If it’s their only marriage they have kids either grown and off the books, or nearly there. 

Respite people are old enough to know their parents won’t live forever.  A sixty year old man with his thirty five year old wife stayed half a night after paying for two.  Seems they had a problem, which is not allowed at DGs B&B, and have to leave early.

“This happens all the time.  It’s not your fault.   I’m just glad I heard about it this time.  My father in law is eighty two.  Golden Gloves boxer.  World War Two Marine fighter pilot.

“Carl got sick, Parkinson’s, and I stepped up.  Volunteered to be his caregiver.  You know, the whole deal from wake up to lights out.  He wouldn’t work with anyone else. 

“He was a Marine.  I’m former Army.  I broke the function of caregiving down to the buddy system.  Everybody knows the buddy system, except people who apply it regularly.”

“He was ready to die in the hospital.  I’ve never seen anyone ready to die, but if you asked me now I’d say they’d have blue fingernails, blue lips, an oxygen mask, and enough hoses running  under the sheets to irrigate a large side yard.

“He was so ready to let it go that I took the doctor outside the room to ask for an estimate on how many days he had to live.  One day?  Two?  I’d never done it before, so I had no idea.

“The doc said one day, maybe two.  That’s two days my mother in law wouldn’t sleep so I asked if I could bring Carl home.  Caregiver for two days sounded easy.  I could stay up two days if I had to.  He looked like he was in a coma so that didn’t seem likely.

“Doctor said yes, take him home, but asked if I knew what I was doing.  I said yes.  I told him I’d been to Army Medic School, coughing at the right time to make it sound like medical school.  He could tell me.  We were practically comrades. 

“What I learned is if you ever want to stand out as the Golden Boy in your family, do the caregiving for an ill relative.  It’s a great thing.  All you have to do is set aside your feelings.  Family caregivers have certain connections to the afflicted that are healthy, and some that are unhealthy. 

“Focus on healthy connections. 

“Uncle Bob was a womanizer?   He did his friends’ wives, their friends, and Aunt Lois knew? 

“Caregiver let’s it go like it never happened.

Mom got a pair of racy undies at a Christmas party and decided to divorce Dad that night? 

“Let it go.

“Dad and a buddy took a fishing trip once a year and spent a week visiting Nevada ‘Ranches’.  On the way back they bought a fish at Safeway and stopped at every lake they saw and  hooked it to a fishing line and took pictures.  They change clothes and take a few more.

“A caregiver lets it go.  It’s over.  Done.

“I’ve done this three years now.  It’s a workout.  Takes an athlete to keep a sick guy on their feet.  I played basketball, but wish I’d wrestled. 

“If I wrestled then I’d know more about balance and tipping points.  More about weight shifts and gravity.  What did I learn from basketball?  How to back an opponent down?  How to stop and pop?  Maybe pass?

“Life is about grappling with problems and coming out triumphant.  You don’t learn that by catching a touchdown pass or canning a three while the clock runs down.  It’s about sharing the struggle, seeing how much you’ve got to give, how much you want to give.

“Who helps you with your work?  Who makes your day livable?  Who do you care about and who cares about you?

“Call it caregiving if you want, but you’re giving all you’ve got.  Anything you saved is lost forever.

“That was one of his sayings, “”What I had I gave, what I saved was lost forever.

“That’s caregiving.”

6 thoughts on “Respite Penthouse

  1. H1b Quota says:

    I have read some of the reviews in your web site . And I truely enjoy the way you blog. I had your blog to my favorites blog site list and definitely will be returning quickly. Please check out my website too and tell me what you think about it.

    • David Gillaspie says:

      I’m glad you found your way around DG’s B&B. The main run I take in any post is classic structure, 1-2-3, beginning , middle, and end, not always in that order. Your site looks very professional and seems to adhere to the standards of successfull blog communication.

      What you might do is link the circle flags at the top to the countries they represent and tell a story about someone from that nation who wants to work in the US for a better life, and how H1b would help. Your reader wants to feel a part of the subject in their gut. A personal story is the best punch.

      I do guest blogging at very high prices, probititively expensive. But if that’s no problem we might work together.



  2. Could I have a word of advice? There’s no doubt that you’ve got sth good above. But imagine if you also provided a couple links towards a website which backs up what you were saying? Or possibly you may offer us some extra information to look at, whatever might connect what youre talking about, something concrete?

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Good question for advice. The sad truth is no advice or preparation will matter before you decide to give care to a family member. Working with them will bring all sorts of issues to the front, which you think you’ve already dealt with.

      The best advice to you is pretty mundance: expect the unexpected. And once you commit to caregiving, know you are in it for the long haul. You can’t bail out because it wasn’t what you expected. It will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, which isn’t to say logging trees or digging coal is a vacation. It’s just that the human interaction you’re used to with a family member isn’t the same once you become a caregiver. You will face a degree of resentment along with envy if you do it right.

      How do you do it right? Keep every day on a fixed schedule. Fix meals on time. Get the meds done on time. Find new ways to communicate, and remember if it works for your loved one and not you, then it works. Encourage your charge to get with you on the team that fights the conditions they suffer from.

      What I’m saying is there’s not a standard level of care or behavior. Let your heart be your guide, and your nose. If something doesn’t smell right, do something about it. While you read through my blog posts, you’ll find the elements of good care you’ll need.

      Thanks for coming in, be sure and subscribe.


  3. Margo says:

    Excellent storytelling, captivating. Your book proposal will be picked up, I’m sure of it. This is something I want to read. Thanks for sharing your journey at the Willamette Writer’s meeting last night.

    • David Gillaspie says:

      It was great meeting you. I’d like to find a few others working on projects to start a once-a-week writing group, just to keep things moving along. Thanks for coming in to the B&B for a look around.

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