Have you seen the TV sit-com "Big Bang Theory"? Even though I'm much older than the actors in BBT, I find BBT very funny. Is that because as I young woman, I myself was one of those nerdy women scientists? Yes! I went to college, I worked, I married, I hung out with... geeks and nerds just like them.
In last night's episode “The Status Quo Combustion” (season 7 episode 4) we continue to see the problem that Howard is having finding home-care for his mother.
Mrs. Wolowitz has always been a loving mother, we've never seen her, we only hear her off camera. Her comedic stereotype is that she expresses her maternal love very loudly. Now that she is bed-bound and unable to do her own self-care, she has more opportunities to be loud and demanding. We see Howard and his new bride Bernadette move into Mom's house to care for her. We see them admit they can't do it all themselves, admit they are putz, and hire outside help. We see a parade of resigning caregivers as they march out of the house, none of them up to the task of caring for Mom.
I am amazed at how much humor and grace the writers and actors of BBT have put into this storyline. It is a minor story line, but it is full of the heartache and exasperation that we have all gone through when trying to find good home caregivers.
Bernadette says with a bit of truth in her joking: “Howie, I love you. And as your wife, your mother is every bit my problem as she is yours. So… I want a divorce.” Being a caregiver can put a huge strain on any marriage. How many spouses run the other way when faced with care-giving their in-laws? But I know of even more son and daughter-in-laws who have been there 100% . For years and years Gene was the one who gently carried his frail mother-in-law into the bathtub and bathed her. Ben's mother-in-law "took over" the very center of their small house, her hospital bed, walker, wheelchair, and commode filling up their living space. And Ben was there for her, with new ramps, good food, in-home help, and a place to call home.
I takes a certain kind of person to be a care-giver, to be a nurse, to be a home-health-aide, to be a personal assistant. I am so thankful for the aides that took care of my Mother everyday at her assisted living residence. They did things that I never could have done.
My Mother's personality became so that she never wanted to move in to my home, never! Until the end, she never thought she needed any help, such was her dementia.
I am so grateful for the compassion that her aides had for her, their patience and their joy.
"I like my job, I couldn't imagine doing anything else." This was the reply I got from two aides last winter, after I once again cried on their shoulders and thanked them for taking such good care of Mom.
And so it was, with amazement, that our BBT couple, Howard and Bernadette, found a joyous and compassionate caregiver for Mom, in the unlikely person of Stewart, the comic book store owner. It takes a special person to be a caregiver.