But my house isn't big enough...

Moving mother and all of her equipment into our home was initially a logistical challenge.

Our house was small and full, with a tiny "great" room, a kitchen, three small bedrooms, two bathrooms, two teenage sons, a young daughter, and Louis and me.

The larger master bedroom with access to the master bath was clearly the most practical for mother's hospital bed and equipment. The boys shared a bedroom with bunk beds, so Louis and I slept in Emily's room, and Emily slept on the living room couch.

Hardly ideal, but it worked. A citrus farmer, Louis woke up early every morning, tip-toed through the living room to avoid waking Emily sleeping on the couch and showered in the master bedroom and dressed in the closet so he wouldn't wake mother.

Eventually we were able to enclose a porch off the kitchen with a futon where Emily could sleep.

Even before the enclosed gave us a little more breathing room, I don't remember my family ever complaining. Given the opportunity to make the same sacrifices, I have no doubt that they would do so again without hesitation.

Their attitude reminds me of the quote by Gregory Laughery in the header above:
"Others come first - through washing feet, laying down lives, loving as Jesus has loved us."




My training and practice as a professional nurse most certainly gave me the confidence to choose to care for my mother's complex needs at home, but it wasn't my training and experience that qualified me.

I learned from my work in hemodialysis that people without any medical experience can be taught the skills needed to provide in-home hemodialysis treatments for others. The requirements included a desire to learn, the responsibility to practically apply each skill as they had been taught, and the maturity to ask for help when they needed it. I've come to believe that is true of many other non-intensive care treatments, as well.

Shortly after mother was moved into our home, despite my training, I realized that I lacked many of the skills needed to care for her. Because home health nurses and a physical therapist were ordered initially, I was able to learn from them how to properly care for mother's bed sores and how to do her range-of-motion exercises. Over time I learned how to provide a variety of treatments I had never used in my nursing practice to meet mother's increasing needs.

Though my confidence may have waned a bit initially, I remembered my hemodialysis experience and knew that I could learn what ever skill was needed to provide the loving and personal home care that I so desired for my mother.