Keep your Crown Straight, Caregiver
Last week was an exhausting week as a caregiver, wife, mother and Full-Time Employee. My husband was admitted into the hospital for a kidney infection, on his transplanted kidney.
Keeping my head together worrying about him, ensuring my kids were taken care of (my son just had surgery on his ankle 3 days prior to my husband being admitted) and still forcing myself to get up and go to my full-time job.
I am not going to lie, it was by far one of my toughest weeks yet. The stress of everything really had me testing my patients and faith. It was hard to stay positive and see a light at the end of the tunnel.
But how did I manage?
I pushed. I pushed through just like I always do. I practiced a deep breathing and a prayer every time I felt anxiety setting in. Which was literally every single minute of the day.
I spent my days at my job to leave and head straight to the hospital to spend a few hours that didn't feel nearly enough, yet to get home at a half decent time to see my kids for maybe an hour, go to bed and do it all over again.
I stopped taking it day by day but rather minute by minute. In reality, last week was a minute by minute survival for me. Where I needed to be changed on the fly and to keep it together I had no choice but to roll with the punches. My body, heart and soul is still recovering. I feel I need a day to myself, but I haven't found a day available that is free to recoup. Why? Because my husband still needs me and my kids (my daughter mostly) still begs for the time she missed when I was gone most of the week.
Maybe some of this sounds familiar to you? Or maybe you have people in your life that can't see that you don't have a normal life and still expect things from you or expect you to be everywhere and don't "get it".
We, as caregivers, of chronically ill loved ones aren't normal. Our lives are not capable of attending events whether planned or last minute pick up and go. What is normal is we measure our time and life by is waking up in the morning to see how our loved is feeling that day or evening. They may wake up feeling great but by the afternoon or evening they are down for the count so that means all plans can get cancelled. I can't tell you how many plans I've cancelled because my husband's health is up and down.
Do people really understand? I don't have that answer for you. They love you very much, but when you say no over and over, it comes across that we are unreliable. But what I can say is YOU know what you can and can't attend. How far you can stretch your time. You know because YOU live it it every single day. The ones that don't live in your home taking care of it on the daily, sympathize for you but don't experience what you do as a caregiver.
So give yourself a break. Don't over extend yourself to make others happy and don't feel guilty when you say no a million times. Most importantly, don't dwell on not being able to do something you wanted. Feel sad about it but then get over it, put in a movie and chill on the couch with the one that needs you the most.
At the end of the day, make the person you care for feel important because they are the one that is suffering the most with chronic pain and sickness. They feel bad too when you cancel your fun plans. My husband tells me all the time that he's sorry for putting me through this life.. but I'm not sorry. I'm here because I want to be for HIM.
Please feel free to reach out to me anytime. Leave me your email to stay connected.
Becca, Hello. Normal.