When the caregiver becomes the patient

Mom almost had forgotten how she had taken care of a “bag” before she was stuck with her colostomy bag. Dad had a catheter inserted temporarily at one point when he was still living at home and he had to “pee into a bag” that was attached to his leg.

Mom handled the extra duty with ease. Dad was already starting to drift mentally a bit by that point, but even if he had been mentally sharp, I think he would have wanted Mom to take care of it.

Now Mom is having to deal with her own “bag” issues, in this case a colostomy and it looks like it may be a permanent thing for her to deal with. Mom mainly has a good attitude about it, but she does get down sometimes, especially when there are accidents, like today.

I have also surprised myself by stepping up and being able to manage a medical issue with some level of competence. If someone had told me a year ago I would be able to change a colostomy bag successfully, I would have told them they were crazy.

I think what I have learned so far through the illnesses of my father and my mother is that we humans can more easily adapt to change than we give ourselves credit for.

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