Caregiving friends, do you ever get smug? You know, self-satisfied, puffed up, or feeling an air of superiority in your caregiving role?

The time that comes most readily to mind for me is when a news story came out several years ago. It was the sad news that Christopher Reeve had died. The reason? Sepsis, an infection that spreads through the body and can be life-threatening. It typically starts as a minor wound.

I found myself asking, “Why? How did he die of sepsis?” I assumed his position in life could afford him the best medical care that exists. How could his attendants or medical team miss the start of it?

Along with my questioning, I patted myself on the back for my diligent care of Jerry’s wounds. It took time, but checking them daily and cleaning and dressing them kept them at bay.

Fast forward nearly twenty years.

Jerry’s routine podiatry appointment had to be delayed by about six weeks. His toenails are thick and difficult to maintain. We’re thankful that because of his cerebral palsy, his insurance covers nail care by a foot specialist.

But his nails grew too long during the extended time period, and I had to do some trimming of them. I knew I clipped one a little too close. I cleaned it well with peroxide and kept it bandaged with antibiotic ointment for a few days. Once the redness subsided, so did the first aid. I continued to look at it when taking his socks off each night and didn’t see any sign of infection.

When Jerry came home from his foot doctor appointment, he pointed out he was wearing a boot, not a shoe on his left foot. He said the doctor identified a significant infection in the big toe. I won’t share his description of what she did and the number of instruments she used to clean it out. But it needed to stay wrapped and in the boot for two weeks. The doctor also prescribed an antibiotic to fight the infection.

At some point, God reminded me of my smugness twenty years ago. It’s obvious that nothing I did kept Jerry’s infection from moving throughout his body. It was only by the grace of God.

Okay, Joan. Time to humble myself (again!) and remember Proverbs 16:18, pride and a haughty spirit often are precursors to a fall.

Our times are in God’s hand (Psalm 31:15) and he alone ordains each moment of them. Yes, I need and want to care for my husband the best I can. But our ultimate caregiver is our Lord Jesus Christ.

Photo by Belle Co: