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Sometimes when you take on a job you don't realize just how difficult it is going to be. When I became caregiver for my Mom I figured that I knew it all. When that job ended on May 25, 2010 with her death I realized that I had so much I had to learn in order to be a caregiver. One of the major things I learned was I couldn't give up. I figured I would never have that tough of a job again. I was wrong.

I moved to North Carolina to be near my brother's only child and her family. Mike was supposed to join me here. He kept putting off me coming back up to help get the house ready to sell. What he failed to tell me was that he couldn't cope on his own and the horrors that he experienced in Vietnam were affecting him again. He started drinking heavily. So called friends used him to get money that should have been for his daughter's inheritance. He squandered the money Mom had left and even hocked his car to help finance a beauty supply store and massage parlor.

Mike fell and hit his head and was on the floor for three days before anyone checked on him. He was getting better when suddenly he started throwing up and it got in his lungs and cut off oxygen to his brain. He never regained consciousness. I went back up and found the house was trashed. Empty wine containers were everywhere. Nothing had been cleaned since I was up there the year before. The bathroom, his bedroom, the hallway, and the family room were covered with feces and blood. I had to clean it by myself and try and keep his only child from seeing the mess.

I cleaned my parent's house by myself and got it up for sale. All of the money I inherited from my Mom went into keeping the house going until it sold and trying to help his daughter. I dealt with crooked finance companies and paying off lawyers to help settle Mike's bills. His so called friends disappeared with the money they suckered from him, his expensive cell phone, and personal effects went with them. I have no way of contacting them to get anything back. There was nothing in writing so I can't even sue to get the money back. Most of my money from the house has gone into helping his daughter and in moving my younger brother out here.

You would think after six years of taking care of my Mom that I would know it all about care giving. No it is like starting all over from zero. Reid is totally disabled. He has to use a walker to get around. He is 5'6" and 108 pounds. He is 58 and looks older than I do. The little boy next door thought he was my Dad. I have had to help him to the toilet and clean him afterwards. I have to help him use a urinal. I've had to pick him up off the floor. I've cleaned the living room rugs numerous times when he couldn't get to the urinal in time or has dropped it. I came home from the store to find him flat on the floor and had to pick him up. I haven't had a full nights sleep in months. We were supposed to get him into his own apartment but he isn't well enough to move over there. I spent eight hours in emergency the other night with him.

The movers are crooks. I am having to use every resource I have to fight them and even then may not be able to win. I have to prove the almost $2,000.00 they charged for packing is a fraud. I'm having to photograph over 132 boxes and things to prove it. I haven't been able to unpack everything but there is a lot of damage we may never be able to get reimbursed. These people lie and lie and lie and I have the burden of proof to have to show they are liars. I am heart sick and bone weary from the fight. I have to do it though or crooks will get away with fraud because no one wants to help the victims. We may have to pay for a lawyer in order to get justice. More money that I don't have.

Their is no one else to help Reid. I have two married brothers neither of whom can afford the time to take him in. I'm all he has. I can't give up. He is terrified something will happen to me and their will be no one to help him. Neither married brother can afford to help me out. Reid and I have to make it on Social Security and Medicare.

There are times when I want to scream "I quit!" I can't though. Like with Mom I made a commitment to help and I will not go back on my word. No one else can do it.  My cat Pixie runs back and forth between the two of us trying to keep watch. My little caregiver kitty helped to take care of Mom. Unfortunately she can't help pick her Uncle Reid up.

I had thought of getting a part time job at a crafts or sewing store to make ends meet but that is no longer possible. It is costing so much more to feed two people and Reid helps me as much as he can but it is a struggle.

The Daily Kos community gave me a quilt. It does help in times of stress to wrap myself in it. You have read my diaries and brought up my spirits. I'm not asking for money. I'll manage somehow. What I would like to ask though is with Christmas coming up that you check out my jewelry and art and photographs for sale. This is something I can do from here to try and bring extra money in. I am listed in the KosKatalog. I just finished updating the sights.

My jewelry is here.

My art and photographs are here.

Michele and her quilt.
Pixie taking over the quilt.
Reid, why I can't give up.

Originally posted to michelewln on Sat Nov 30, 2013 at 05:55 PM PST.

Also republished by CareGiving Kos, Street Prophets , Anglican Kossacks, and KosAbility.

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