Thursday, February 28, 2019

Caregiver Self Care

"You cannot be a good caregiver for T, if you do not take care of you"

I've heard this from everyone. People take one look at me and ask, "are you doing anything to take care of you?", or "Are you taking time for you each day?" The answer is for the past 8 years has been, NOPE

That needs to change and I am making it somewhat of a priority. I know, I know….that “somewhat” shouldn’t be there, but it is, so there you have it. 

OK, I've had some medical issues. A racing heart (I believe from stress). The medical stuff is easy. I went to the ER when it got scary, I had EKGs, an Echo, a stress test, and just finished wearing a heart Event monitor for 30 DAYS! Yes, it sucked wearing that thing and sleeping with it on for that long. Now I will follow up to go over all the results and be evaluated by the cardiologist. She's leaning to its stress, I think/hope… that I basically just need to chill the f#ck out.

My problem is I seem to be....well....I'm not handling things as well anymore. Heck, after T's surgery when they sent her home with just me to care for her, I was terrified! I was trembling as I talked to the doctor about all the things I had to do to care for her wounds etc…I’ve not been myself since.

I used to be the person that no matter what I was going through, I had a smile on my face, a wiseass remark at the ready and I never ever showed weakness publically. You could have stabbed me and I would not give you the satisfaction of a tear. I have lost my ability to control my emotions.

I get so overwhelmed at times my eyes tear up, and it’s all I can do to keep my shit together when I’m at work. Thankfully I work in a cubical staring at a monitor all day, invisible to the others doing the same around me.

So, I’m making a real effort to…
·        make friends.
·        make time for me.
·        learn to deal with my stress.

Trying to make a new friend as an adult is not easy. Fate had me stuck in an emergency room with a coworker for 10 hours. In that time I learned she was a really cool, funny, and kind person. The kind of person I like to be friends with. So, I am making an effort to become friends outside of work. Both of us have busy lives, so this is proving to be harder than expected. We haven’t even managed to have a cup of coffee together…LOL…but what the hell, I’m trying. 

Making time for just me, is even harder. I feel guilt leaving T to go do something by myself, when she is too sick to leave the house. I shouldn’t. She sleeps most of those days away, and what’s the point of me sitting alone while she sleeps? I do sometimes take a drive after running errands for us, like laundry and food shopping, before I head home. Just listening to music and driving around a little. Better than nothing. It’s also hard because I don’t have a lot of friends I can just call and invite to do something on the fly.

As for my stress, I took Dr A and the patient navigators at the hospital up on their offer to give me 6 free therapy sessions and more if I want them. She is encouraging me to make friends, take me time, and deal with being a caregiver and all that entails…the worry, being scared, imagining what my life will be like when I lose her, not knowing when that will be. I’m mourning a woman who is still alive, and I hate that….she’s helping with that too.

That is all for now.

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