In this brief narrative, Troy Donahue Jackson shares the responsibilities, challenges and sacrifices he faces as caregiver for his chronically ill, 81-year-old mother Gloria, who suffers from heart failure, COPD, diabetes and immobility issues.
Jackson gave up his corporate job in 2020 to care for his ailing mother. He details the ER visits, special diet, toileting, bathing, breathing machine usage and medications that enable his mother to remain in her own home. He doesn’t shy away from the hard realities of the task: “I had to turn her over to keep her from getting bedsores,” he writes of her return home after a stint in the hospital. “…She was totally incontinent, and I had to use the bedpan for bowel movement daily…”
He points out other challenges, as well: He has used up his savings. Friends and family have deserted them. Hurricane Ida knocked out the power grid for two weeks in their New Orleans neighborhood—although he’d fortuitously stockpiled life-supporting oxygen. And after a home visit from a physical therapist, they both contracted COVID.
The story is told from the author’s point of view, and Jackson writes in a rambling style, with repetitive mentions of the enormity of the task and many grammatical errors, as in: “The upkeep of a loved one is very hard. The caregiver has to stay on top of everything, [sic] so there is no breakdown of the skin, keep [sic] the toenails clipped, grease and moisturize the hair and skin from top to bottom…”
Sharing his mother’s thoughts would have added a stronger understanding of their caregiving environment. More depth regarding his experiences, such as how they coped physically and emotionally during Hurricane Ida, would also have added interest.
The book is too short to offer a meaningful picture of a caretaker’s life and delivers few concrete caretaking tips. Thus, it works best as simple assurance to those in similar situations that they aren’t alone.
Also available in eBook