.Caregiver of the Month
November 2001
Congratulations!

Alison Minty

Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago our lives changed! My husband, Cyril, had a massive stroke. He was 68, I was 47 and we had been married just two years. Let me tell you about this special man.

Cyril worked as a Radiation Oncologist. For a period of time I had worked with him in both the public clinics and his private practice. He was a tall, elegant man who at first appeared aloof, but it didn't take people long to see the twinkle in the eye, sense the wicked humor and, more importantly, his deep compassion for others. For many years he treated almost all the children in our city who needed radiotherapy and I had seen him cry many times when he didn't have the answers required to ease the pain families were feeling. I had a deep respect for him and when we met again after many years we found so many mutual things we both enjoyed. It was a very special time in my life.

The trauma of Cyril's stroke was dramatic. He wasn't expected to live and it took a very brave Neurosurgeon to perform surgery that night. At the time he had an active medical practice, played golf twice a week and frequently visited his 98-year-old mother. We entertained, went to the theatre and the opera, "holidayed" a couple of times a year and, most importantly, we shared everything... the laughter, tasks, family and even tears. Cyril never went back to work.

Somehow his secretary kept pointing me in the right direction.Colleagues rang to state which areas of his practice they would attend to... the bank manager smiled and led me by the hand. His mother very graciously accepted my visits with a seeming understanding of the gravity of the situation. I had had 2 major surgeries in the 2 months before Cyril's stroke and in the next 4 months we had 3 more major operations between us. Life went on.

The difficult thing is watching the further deterioration, knowing that the situation will never improve for him. The one thing I really fear is not being able, physically, to care for Cyril at home. I regret not being able to share the same way... I feel I have lost my man but I still love him dearly. I do not want to be totally responsible for him. But there it is. I used to feel a bit sorry for myself but I am past that now and know this has widened my mind and my heart. I have found within myself a very deep and still patience.

I have gained such strength from this site and the friends made here... A place where everyone cares, understands and doesn't freak if there is a quiet, slightly manic scream... after all, we have all been there. This is the place to come for some lovely sane moments in the day.

In 10 years I have not cried... would one be able to stop if the tears started?

Copyrighted by Alison Minty October 2001

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EMPOWER, NG CAREGIVERS features the "CAREGIVER OF THE MONTH SPOTLIGHT". If you know of a unique caregiver who you would like to honor or perhaps submit yourself, please send a jpg photograph (if one is available) along with your story. All submissions must be received by the third week of each month to be considered. In the subject line, please type CAREGIVER SPOTLIGHT SUBMISSION. Submit your entries here:spotlight@care-givers.com 


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