Monday, June 25, 2018

Unexpected Changes and Caregiving

When Life Takes A Turn

So, after returning from a visit with my family in WV one week ago, the Mr. and I knew that another family member here was going to be having some surgery. What we didn't know is that this family member would actually end up having three surgeries in one week and that we would be spending mega hours at the hospital going back and forth between ICU and a regular room. Needless to say, it has been a very stressful week for both of us and I have had no time or energy left for blogging! So, if you've been wondering where Debbiethisandthat has been recently, that's what has been happening!

This whole experience has given the Mr. and I pause to ponder how difficult it is to be a caregiver for someone who is sick. Even though our family member was receiving excellent hospital care, there were still many things that we had to do. From visiting, to speaking with nurses and doctors, to advocating for post hospital care, to feeding our family member when she was too weak to do it on her own, to keeping family members and friends informed, the list goes on and on! We are blessed that our family member has a good place to go to for post hospital care. But, even so, we will continue to give care with visits, emotional support, errands and decision making about the future. How challenging it would be if this rehab facility was not available to us and we were trying to do it all at home, which is the plight of many folks who care for their loved ones. As I contemplate my own aging, I am hopeful that resources and help for those who need health care and health support (and who doesn't??) will be improved. My heart goes out to those who struggle on a daily basis to either be cared for themselves or to care for their loved ones and to find help doing so. 

I'm certainly not a guru on how to be a caregiver, but I am learning more and more as we go through this process. And, I am learning that self-care for the caregiver is important. Taking breaks, taking a walk, changing schedules as needed, relying on others and not trying to be super-human and doing it all is so important. It is easy to let guilt take over at times with "I should be doing more" type thinking. I am learning that it is OK to ask lots of questions and to seek help when necessary. It is OK to not be perfect. Lots of emotions come into play when a loved one is sick and it is healthy to deal with those emotions and not bury them. Like everything else in life, learning how to be a caregiver takes time and I am a work in progress. 

So, that's what has been happening in my life the last week. Tell me, what's been happening with you? I am hopeful to get back to a more routine blogging schedule as I am able. 

Until Next Time,


Karen said...

How well I can relate to this. My mom is 93 and relies on me for everything. This has been going on for some years now and trying to juggle her needs with my full time and recently even higher stress job, it gets very, very difficult. By the end of the week I'm often too exhausted mentally and physically (and emotionally) to do more than sit with a book and wait for the phone to ring. And there is so much more I want to be doing. Walks are lifesavers for me. If I can get away for a day trip on the weekend that is even better. I do dream of better times to come, but this routine can get oppressive. Some days when people are piling on at work and I'm getting calls about my mom I sit at my desk at work and just start crying. I pray a lot. I think without that it would be a whole lot worse. Your pictures are beautiful and a walk to a place like that is certainly beneficial. It's nice to have you back to the blog!

Debbie Styles Life said...

Oh,Karen, how difficult these days must be for you! I am sorry there is so much stress. I pray that things will ease up. We have already had a phone call this morning from rehab, so I know what you mean about the phone calls. The photos on this post are from a recent walk I took at the NC Arboretum. I had planned to do a post on my visit but decided to just use them for this post. I pray that today is a good day for you and your Mom!!

Sharon said...

After being a caregiver for my husband following major surgery, I began to understand what caregiving entails. As he recovered, my caregiving became less necessary, and now he has fully recovered from the surgery. However, I realized at the time how difficult ongoing caregiving must be. You are right, Debbie, that self-care is so important for a caregiver. I hope all goes well with your family member, and that in the meantime, you are able to rest, relax, and find some time for your own self-care.

Debbie Styles Life said...

I know that was a challenging time for you, Sharon, when your husband had surgery. I know that you understand about being a caregiver!