My role as a caregiver for a cherished loved one had been gradually increasing over the years, but recently, due to medical issues, that role has taken a very large leap. That’s why I haven’t been posting much here lately.
Remembering that I have a blog, I thought I’d post some thoughts on being a caregiver. I’m a practical sort, so I’ll concentrate on the nuts&bolts (so to speak) of being a caregiver and leave the deep philosophical/spiritual/psychological aspects to others who are far more qualified than I am to comment on such matters.
Rule #1: take care of yourself.
Everyone I’ve talked to places this first, and I understand the reasoning. It’s like when they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others should there be a sudden loss of pressurization on the airliner. If you’re passed out gasping for O2, you’re of no use to anyone. My Sister put it quite nicely: “If you [as the caregiver] go down, he’s [the one cared for] in Trouble.“.
I’m posting this one first, not just because it’s Very Important, but because I’m finding it very difficult to adhere to. It’s very difficult to leave your loved one in professional hands, no matter how good, and walk away to even do “necessary” things like get groceries, but even more so to just unwind and do something recreational. Or maybe you think it’s not necessary to buy groceries. After all, there’s a food court in the hospital, and plenty of drive-thrus. IMHO, relying on those food sources would be a Big Mistake.
But it’s important to maintain yourself with adequate rest, food, exercise, and yes, just plain downtime. You need to operate in a way that’s sustainable.
Now that I’ve said it publicly, I have to stick to it, otherwise someone will hit me over the head with this post.