Guilt Free

A long day busy
Doing the caregiver stuff
Making the time count

Between all that time
There were moments of great fun
Seeing my sister

Sitting in big chairs
Chilling, talking, and laughing
Getting pedicures

Feet in denial
Unnecessary expense
Happy toes rejoiced

Daily Prompt:  Denial

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Love Won

I cannot sink the putt on the 18th hole to win the Masters.
I cannot get a base hit to score the winning run in Game 7 of the World Series.
I cannot make the half-court buzzer-beater shot to win the NCAA Basketball Championship.
I cannot jump several feet into the air while surrounded by defenders and come down with the Hail Mary pass to win the Super Bowl.

I can, however, steady my husband as he transitions from the lift chair to his power chair. I can also bathe and dress him. I can also prepare and serve every meal for him. I can also enjoy laughing wth him. And of course, I can love and support him.

I don’t have a huge trophy to hoist over my head. I don’t have sponsors to thank for their financial support.  But I can certainly thank my “team” of doctors, nurses, therapists, friends, and family.  My husband is the reason I have trained so hard to compete.  He has kept me motivated with his love and appreciation.  It doesn’t bother me that I will never win any athletic championships because I’ve already won his love.  I am his champion caregiver!  🙂

Daily Prompt:  Champion

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Resume

A life is interrupted. The universe has pushed the “PAUSE” button. In a monumental moment, the caregiving role will continue for a few months, a few years, or even much longer. The job skills, interests, and hobbies of that caregiver are frozen in time. Can you even be the person you once were?

Once my caregiving role is over, I know the house will be quiet, and I will likely be very quiet, too. There will be a sense of loss that I cannot even anticipate at this moment.

When the universe pushes the “RESUME” button, I will have to decide about priorities. What activities will I enjoy? Will the solitary life of a caregiver make the cultivation of new friendships difficult? I will also re-evaluate my employment skills. Will any previous career paths even be relevant?

As I re-evaluate my life, I will take stock of who I am post-caregiver and not who I once was pre-caregiver. Life has changed me forever and in some respects, caregiving has made me a better person. I will need answers, but until that moment, I may not even know the questions.

When I emerge from caregiving, I hope there will be a new life out there for me to live that brings purpose. Self-examination and discovery will give me that purpose. When that day comes, I will listen to my heart and resume my life.

Daily Prompt:  Pause

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Port Thoughts

I have not yet arranged for the Transport
Maybe I will leave from an Airport or Heliport?
One thing is certain: I definitely will not Abort
For it was judicially decided that I am a Quart Short

Caregiving is a hard and long endurance kind of Sport
A marathon of ups and downs in providing love and Comfort
It is essential the caregiver finds an alternate means of Support

And when necessary a caregiver should be sentenced by the Supreme Court
To a time away for rest and relaxation as prescribed in the Report
A fabulous sentence that has been decreed by the High Court

The time has come to stamp the Passport
The time has come to find the nearest Seaport
The time has come to reserve that all-inclusive beach Resort

It is an overdue trip that the caregiver must not Thwart
It is a wonderful sentence from a very wise Court
Come away with me and let us quickly Deport!

Daily Prompt: Passport

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Hidden Inside

Some things are quite obvious and obviously, some things are not. Objective things are quite evident to everyone. Things that are subjective and noticed only by you are symptoms.

People looking at your caregiving situation from the outside have an objective understanding of the things you do every day for a loved one. They can clearly see how much you do for others. But what are you feeling inside that others cannot see. What symptom are you hiding and what can you do to treat it?

One of my hidden symptoms is joint pain. Some movements and muscle flexes are somewhat uncomfortable for me. I can’t associate these symptoms with any obvious diagnosis other than what I refer to as “Caregiver Stress”. I can fit several general aches and pains under that caregiving umbrella, and no one really understands them but me.

What symptoms are you hiding? We can’t do everything for everyone, but we can do one thing for ourselves. Think about one thing you can do today to make yourself feel better in a small way. Today, I’m feeling tired. I’m going to listen to a hidden symptom. I’m going to take a nap.
What will you do?

Via Daily Prompt: Symptom

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Just say YES

My mom had a refrigerator magnet that said, “I must learn to say NO”.
It was hard for her to say NO when people from a group would ask for her assistance. People loved her spirit and her passion to help others. I don’t know if she bought that magnet or if someone gave it to her. She would always be glad to help, but she knew her personal time was just as precious. It was the special time with family and friends that gave her the strength to be so highly involved with these important causes and groups.

My life has mirrored my mother’s in some respects. I share her passion to be involved. My immediate passion is the care and safety of my husband and his father. I will always be available to help them and care for them.

I need to remind myself that it’s okay to say NO, but how is it possible for a 24/7 caregiver to say NO to a loved one when everything that loved one needs is dependent on YOU?

I need a different magnet that says, “I must learn to say YES”. I need to tell myself that it’s okay to say YES to getting help with my caregiving responsibilities. It’s okay to say YES to substitute caregivers. It’s okay to say Yes to free time for ME. It’s okay to say YES to time with friends and family who have probably grown tired of hearing me say NO to them too often.

We, as caregivers, need to start reminding ourselves that it’s okay to get help for ourselves. For me, I’m going to start with a minimal commitment of just a few hours a week. This is time for me to get groceries or just be out of the house. This is time for me to gather strength so I may continue being an awesome caregiver.

I know that caregiving guilt is real because I feel it. Do you feel it, too? I’m trying to find that delicate balance in my caregiving role. I’m trying to say YES to friends and family more often. I’m trying to say YES to myself more. I’m trying…Will you try, too?

Via Daily Prompt:  Minimal

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Take A Moment

Yesterday, the three of us left a doctor’s office to go home. We stopped at our local big retail drug store to get a manual blood pressure cuff / stethoscope so I can learn how to use it. I left my hubby and his dad in the car as I ran into the store. I never do this unless I can get in and get out quickly and back to them in the van. I was feeling that motherly instinct thing to not leave the men alone too long. I don’t like to keep them waiting on me.

I walked quickly straight to the blood pressure supplies and grabbed the box. On the way out, I decide to grab a quart of milk. So I’m clutching the BP box and the milk as I walk even faster towards the cashier. I round the aisle to the cashier and stop dead in my tracks. There’s an older gentleman with a buggy full of cleaning supplies and an expanding folder of coupons headed to the cashier. It’s every caregiver’s nightmare. I’ve got two men in the van that want to get home and I hate to make them wait.

The cashier made eye contact with me. She asked him to step aside while he organized his thousand coupons so she could help me. I thanked her several times and grabbed a Hershey bar to add to the transaction. I needed a moment to bite into that chocolate bar before going to the car. I needed a moment of my own precious time to reward myself for being the awesome caregiver that I am. This is not selfish. This is self-preservation, a tiny act of self-care, and a reminder that I need to slow down, too.

I know you are busy today and I know that you are an awesome caregiver, too.   Please take a moment for YOU.  Your self-care prescription may look different from mine.   My prescription will always include a Hershey bar.  🙂

Via Daily Prompt:  Instinct

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Not Alone

One of the best things to happen this past year, is the opportunity to write and record my caregiving experiences. I have been “blogging” for just a few months and it has become a tool of therapy for me. I love to write and between the caregiving tasks, I am exploring this more. People have been kind to me and I am appreciative of the people that follow this blog and comment. It is another means of social interaction that keeps me connected to life.

Another good thing to come out of this experience is the confidence in my abilities to manage the two men who live with me. Obviously, no one goes to school to learn how to dress your husband or give him a sponge bath. No one goes to school to learn how to interact and be attentive to the many needs of a 90 year old father-in-law. It has been a crash course in learning each new skill. I have learned so much and have realized that I am capable of handling a lot more than I ever imagined.

Many caregivers feel very isolated. They don’t have opportunities for social interactions and friends seem to disappear quickly. I understand these feelings completely. Despite all it’s challenges, the internet is a great resource for people with common interests to share information. If you are on this caregiving journey as I am, you have found a kindred spirit in me. You are not alone. I wish you peace. I wish you hope. I wish you strength.

Via Daily Prompt:  Record

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Movie Day

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Movie Theatre, Movie Theatre, why do you taunt me with your experience?
From my caregiving home, I can smell the popcorn.
From my caregiving home, I can see the people in the lobby.
From my caregiving home, I can touch the padded armrest on my chair.
This is the abstract theatre away from my caregiving home.

Movie Theatre, Movie Theatre, why do you tempt me with your experience?
I could spend the afternoon with one or even two of your cinematic productions.
I could spend the afternoon with my favorite Hollywood actor and his talents.
I could spend the afternoon eating and enjoying very unhealthy food.
This is the perfect theatre away from my caregiving home.

Movie Theatre, Movie Theatre, one day I will spend the whole day with you.
A brightly lit screen filled with laughter, tears, romance, and comedy.
An imaginary world that takes me far from my own boring world,
And drops me in your fictional world of bright colors and fabulous styles.
One day soon, I will spend this day with you away from my caregiving home.

Via Daily Prompt:  Abstract 

 

 

The Plan of Action

The word “desire” can be deceptive. Something that is desired can be unintentionally unattainable simply because we say it is desired. Do we give up the possibility of having something when we categorize it as something “desired”? Is there any difference between a desire and a wish?

In order to reach a goal or to achieve a desired object, a plan must be created. It is the creation of the plan that cements the path. A plan with a desired outcome elevates the experience from just a wish to a real process that enables the fulfillment.

It is a commitment that goes beyond a vague and general wish or desire. The commitment drives us to make it a reality. When a desire has a commitment, it forces us to make a plan of action to attain that desire. The plan of action is a “no turning back” moment.

It’s easy for a tired caregiver to dream of spending a week on a beach. It’s easy to “desire” putting your feet in the sand. It’s really just a big wish for a caregiver who cannot leave a loved one for more than a few hours at a time. It’s only when you commit to a plan of action that will ultimately result in you actually sitting under a beach umbrella. It’s the “no turning back” moment when you enlist a home health agency to be your substitute caregiver. A successful plan will motivate you to buy the airline ticket. I learned this lesson. This is a very true story.

So what is on YOUR wish list? What is YOUR desired outcome? Go beyond a wish or a want. If it’s important to you, make it happen. Make the commitment and create a plan of action. Big aspirations are truly attainable if you make the process achievable. Good Luck!

Via Daily Prompt: Desire

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