November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to raise awareness about the role of family caregivers and recognize their support and selflessness. Many people with essential tremor are supported by a loving caregiver who assists them with daily tasks and provides emotional support as well. Lorena Rogers is a caregiver for her husband, Donald. She shares her perspective.
By Lorena Rogers
“Is this what you signed up for?”
My husband asked me this question recently and, truthfully, I wasn’t sure how to answer.
Donald has had essential tremor (ET) since his early teens. When I met him, the tremor made him kind of quirky – part of his personality, even charm. The excessive twitching, shaking, etc. when he would get over stimulated was a bit humorous. That is until you truly understand what is happening to him.
We sometimes joke around about the tremor – because how else do you get through the day, really? Other times we talk about it/to it as if it were a living entity of its own. “How’s the tremor today? Oh, alive and well!”
Donald asked me recently, “Is this what you signed up for?” and it was hard to answer him. At the time of his proposal, I really didn’t know what essential tremor was or how it progresses. If we could see the future and were presented with the choice of being with someone who would be healthy for their lifetime or someone who will need daily care perhaps we all might rethink our decisions.
So … you may ask would I have changed my mind? Absolutely not! Essential tremor does not define Donald as a person and if I had said no to his proposal I would have missed out on knowing a truly amazing individual.
Next year will be Donald’s and my 25th wedding anniversary. We have known each other for 27 years and hope to have many more years together. Thanks for all the adventures, Babe – and yes, I am glad I signed up!