I'm not meant to be a caregiver!
Monday, May 06, 2019
When I was a girl I thought I wanted to grow up to be a Nurse - didn't everyone? I had some minor health issues and always loved the nurses who cared for me. When I went to collage I decided I should be a Social Worker - until I almost failed my sociology class. So that was a no go as well. I realized that taking care of others wasn't my best quality.
Sure, I had five children and I certainly took good care of each of them, even the challenging one. But I loved them unconditionally! Even after I went to work so their father could be a stay-at-home-dad and create works of art on his pottery wheel, I found it to be my job to come home from work and take care of the children. I was the one who went to all the concerts, baseball games, gymnastic meets, swim meets, and parent-teacher conference. My mom-taxi started about 5:45 p.m. (which gave me all of 20 minutes from the time I stepped off the bus to the time I get in the driver's seat) and didn't usually end until about 9:00 p.m. I welcomed the day when my oldest daughter got her driver's license because it meant one less person to drive around and potentially another driver in the household. Yes, their father was still here but he was too busy creating art to take care of his children.
But things right now are completely different. My children are totally independent - in fact, one of my sons is coming on Friday to help us! It's my dear sweet, kind hearted, second husband who is in need of caretaking. This all started on his birthday in early April and he has been hit with one health problem after another since then. We have visited a doctor 11 times in the last 33 days - that's 33% of the time. And not one single doctor can seem to be able to help him. They prescribe this medicine, or that. They say do this, or do that. Nothing is helping and, in fact, he is getting worse every day. The current issue - he has been having a harder time swallowing until he has almost stopped eating altogether.
And he needs my constant care. Not only am I driving him to every single one of these doctor appointments or urgent care - but I am having to help him get dressed, trying to find things he can eat, and making sure he's drinking enough. The last two days I had to help him get up out of bed. Yesterday I had to get the walker up for him (thank goodness my mother had the good sense to get a walker and I had the good sense to take it home after she died - at the time I thought it was a really dumb idea but it has been a life saver more than once). After he gets up and gets something to eat he is better.
But then there's that whole eating thing. Today I went to Target to look through the baby food isle. OMG, baby food has really changed since the last time I had to buy it in 1982! I found a Chicken & Veggie meal and a Turkey & Sweet Potato - and he was able to get down about 2/3's of the Turkey meal. I'm going to make him a 4 oz protein shake shortly to see if he can sip on that while we're watching some TV tonight.
I love this man, yet I find myself so frustrated because this caregiving is pretty much a 100% deal. You, the caregiver, are "on hold", waiting for that call. "Kath" he says, and I run. But then I am also so scared too. This morning he slept way past his usual wake up time. I peeked in on him once - like I used to do with my sleeping babies. Listening for their breathing to make sure they were still okay. But when he wasn't up by 9:15 I had to look in on him again - this time he was awake. Thank goodness.
So, I have so much respect for all you wonderful spark friends who have been caretakers in your lifetime. I never had to take care of either of my parents - they both died after a massive stroke. One day they were with me, the next day they were gone. Oh, an a funny little thing. After two weeks of taking care of my dear husband I received an email from Blue Cross / Blue Shield (our insurance company) with information about how to care for the caretaker! Seemed like a message from God!