Six New Dawn roses cover a pergola I built for my wife a few years before her MS diagnosis. If I had known then what we know now, I would have built it much closer to the house. My wife loves roses and living out of town as we do, we have a yard large enough for me to have built the pergola too far from the house for her to enjoy as much as I imagined she would.

People think of roses as being difficult to grow. And they certainly can be if they aren’t cared for as they require. Planting them where they receive a full day of sun, giving the proper fertilizer, and watering only in the morning works for me.

I must admit, however, I’ve killed a few roses. I’ve done it for opposite reasons: giving too little attention or by giving too much attention.

I walked by a potted patio rose each day as it died from lack of water. I just didn’t have time. On the other hand, I’ve also killed a rose by giving it too much water.

The over-watered rose, the one given too much attention, is the one I’m considering this morning. My wife self-administered a daily injection for two years until she started having site reactions and had to quit taking the medication. There followed a period of time when she took no injections.

A couple of months ago she started injections of a different medication which I’ve prepared and given to her every other evening. She doesn’t like the needles and has been worried her hands would shake too much to self-administer. Last night she decided to do it herself.

Half way through the multi-step process of preparing the injection she asked, “And they expect people with poor memory to remember all of these steps?” (Here’s where I almost gave my rose too much water.) I asked, “Would you like me to do it for you?”

“No.”

Wisely, she didn’t let me do anything more than finish preparing the injection she was assembling. Then she loaded the injector, did the 5 minute ice pack, and injected her thigh. Though the shot stung, she felt good about doing it and I was reminded of a lesson I frequently forget about over-watered roses: they don’t thrive.

Caregiver Tip: Avoid giving too much “care” too soon for someone who is perfectly capable of self-care. Save your best efforts for when they are needed. And until then, water the roses in the yard.

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