No Saints around Here: A Caregiver’s Days
A beautifully written chronology of caregiving by Susan Allen Toth during the last months of her husband’s life with Parkinson’s.
Poignantly real. Righteous, at times. Humbling. Overwhelmingly loving.
Fellow caregivers will appreciate Toth’s humility in her title–No Saints. So often caregivers (this reviewer included) question whether we’re doing enough. No matter how exhausted, we feel we could do a bit more.
Yet, the author-caregiver has the wisdom to find some balance amidst her exhausting ’round-the-clock care for her beloved husband, James whose Parkinson’s leaves him less able to do things for himself. She asks for help, so she can get out for a couple hours. Oftentimes, she races back home after answering an urgent call. She learns to balance “more” with “less.”
Toth’s writing is engaging and invites the reader to glide comfortably along the pages that make up the short chapters. This is ideal for the busy caregiver who’s trying to gain some insight from reading about someone else’s experience while managing his/her own.
Yet, what Toth writes is common among caregivers and provides a feeling of “we share similar experiences.”
- She humbly admits that despite desiring that her husband hears her say, “I love you,” what he hears most is, “Just a minute!”
- Caregivers, who have been through the sometimes-painful process of discovering which incontinence products work best for their loved ones, will appreciate (with some humor), Toth’s adventures in this regard.
- Toth admits she and her husband spent time keeping each other company rather than socializing with a larger group of friends. Yet, she soon learned that “the net is larger than [they] imagine[d].” People in her life–from the car mechanic to the neighbor were looking out for her and willing to help.
While mired deep in caregiving, Toth wonders, If only I had the time…
I hope now that her beloved James lives in her heart, she is able to take some time to do those things she wanted to, like visit the zoo, read a good book, or play the piano.
More information: caregiver, caregiving, Parkinson’s, The Caregiver’s Voice book Review