Following is a plea for help for the many people locked into a 24-hour life of caregiving for an ill loved one:
Readers’ Commentary – “I’ve been a caregiver for my severely brain-injured spouse for almost 20 years. Caregivers need HELP!!!
“I’ve asked agencies, volunteer groups, governments, family and friends to help me with my greatest need. But no one’s really willing.
“What I’m talking about is this: Coming every Tuesday (or whenever) and spending three hours so I can go out on my own.
“Among my loving friends and family, no one offered regular help. Meanwhile, my ability to pay for help is soon ending.
“Caregivers cannot do it by themselves. In my case, I’m showing the signs of experiencing severe stress, depression, and illness.
“Once I have no help whatever, my life and that of my spouse will be small and lonely. The stress will build and whatever bad thing is waiting in the wings will happen.
“Caregivers are invisible. Even my own doctor asks how my spouse is, before asking me why I’m there.
“In these two decades that I’ve been a caregiver, only one person has acknowledged my needs or asked how I was doing, and that was a stranger at the passport office.
“No one can be a caregiver 24/7 without help. Any person who knows a caregiver can prevent these tragedies simply by being there regularly and giving the caregiver time to recover and do some things they enjoy.”
After meeting a nice man at a Jewish singles event, he asked me out. We dined at an Italian restaurant. When I ordered veal saltimbocca, he told me he observed “kosher” food rules and requested that I order something else. I did.
I next invited him over for dinner and asked my mother for a safe bet - she suggested I get a nice piece of fish and make a kugel (noodle or potato pudding).
I asked for a recommendation at the best fish store.
After my guest’s first bite he seemed puzzled and asked what I was serving. I replied, “Swordfish.” He spit out his mouthful on his plate and ran to the door. I thought he was choking and went after him but he left in his car.
It’s been over a week - do you think I’ll hear from him again?
Not likely. There was obvious interest on both parts, but his abrupt exit was about more than the fish.
There was a huge identity gap between you two – which could’ve been breached - but he didn’t try, and you didn’t have the chance to ask about it.
Lots of “mixed” couples date and many marry, but they need to know how to deal with major differences in religious and/or cultural practices.
You may both be Jewish, but his “kosher food” observance is strict. You needed to learn more if you hoped to connect with him.
Example: Orthodox kosher rules consider swordfish a non-fish because it doesn’t have scales. However, a contrary ruling permits swordfish because it does have scales before it reaches adulthood.
This is but one of the complex and confusing issues that often arise when dating someone who observes religious principles – whether they’re Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu, etc. - to a different degree than the other.
The need for reaching across that gap to understand each other’s background and beliefs is especially needed in a union between people of completely different faiths.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who saw her boyfriend only on weekends (Feb. 22):
Reader – “I would’ve told her to simply ask him, "Would it be possible for us to talk on the phone once or twice during the week? I miss you and I’d love to hear your voice."
“If he says, "Sorry, I'm too busy to telephone chat," it’s time for more dialogue or time to move on if she’s looking for a bigger commitment.”
FEEDBACK Regarding Driving in Snow (Feb. 22):
Reader – “While “All-Season” Tires are inadequate for snowy, icy driving, “All-Weather” tires provide grip in winter conditions and can be used year-round.
“Their “snowflake” symbol indicates appropriateness for winter driving.
“Also, if your vehicle has antilock braking systems (ABS), do NOT pump the brakes. Provide constant pressure on the brake pedal and the ABS will do the “pumping.”
“Pressing the ABS-system brake pedal firmly will give you the shortest stopping distance.”
Tip of the day:
Give a full-time caregiver more than an occasional visit. They need regular time on their own.