Caring for Others
Does anyone else have the responsibility of caring for family members, even when you are burnt out and have no spoons?
I'm always busy as a single mum. My daughter has a chronic illness which is emotionally and physically draining. She's also HFA and she has Epilepsy. My mother is widowed and has cancer. She's also recovering from major surgery and needs support because she lives alone during Covid. I have to take her for physiotherapy appointments, doctor appointments, and now radiation every day in November. It's scary for me because I need down time, and also because of Covid. I'm scared I will get into contact with C19 and compromise my daughter who is on strong immunosuppressants. My brother suffers serious depression and anxiety.
I feel like I have a lot to juggle to take care of everyone. It's hard because I'm selective mute and can't always express compassion or emotion to them. I don't have many spoons on the best of days. I feel like I need support too because of autism and my stroke, but I'm always the caregiver. I'm very tired.
Can anyone relate to the challenge of family responsibilities? How do you cope?
I can relate in a way, my mum is widowed too and has mobility issues which are due to be addressed through surgery soon.
Thing is it always falls to me to do right by mum.
It's difficult sometimes, because although mum tried to do better in recent years, ultimately her memory is deteriorating.
Other times its difficult because of the role reversal, I'm always the one doing the mothering and have been for so long now, sometimes I find myself feeling short changed on the family deal I got. Yet in true Irish style, I know it could be worse.
Some days though are tougher than others and it's harder to appreciate what I do have.
I'm sorry to hear all the strain you're under. It's very hard to be the sole carer for even one person, let alone two or more. Do you have anyone else in your family besides your brother, and do they take on some of the responsibilities at all?
In my situation there's been periods of months where I've been the main person to take care of most things, due to my dad leaving. My mother has been sick since I was a child and is the only other person here, so usually I end up taking care of her, the pets, and the house. I was even making appointments for our dog and talking to the vet when she was sick.
While I enjoy caring for other people, I don't enjoy when it barres me from other responsibilities, taking proper care of myself, and when it gets to the point where my parents are joking that I'm "like a parent".
The only thing that has helped me personally not lose my shit during these times is to look at it in the sense I'm learning to be responsible, plus I'll be more prepared to take care of kids and animals later on in life. It has also helped me realize I would like to work with animals and kids, like becoming a teacher or something, so I also focus on that.
I am my GF's carer and it's a struggle but only due to my issues.
Hope do I cope? I bottle things up and soldier through it. I feel guilty when I need alone time so I try not to , so I tend to zone out in the same room while surfing the internet.
I know a lot of people caring for parents now,I have a friend who has to drive 4 hours to New Jersey to visit his mother in a nursing and she doesn't recognize him.A lot of people from my generation in there late 40's early 50's deal with this now.
Both my parents died long long ago and I am lucky I won't ever have to deal with that,what was once great sorrow is now a great advantage.
Thank you everyone for understanding.
Amity, you and I seem to have a lot in common. I'm sorry you are dealing with similar issues and also experiencing guilt or a nagging conscience about the responsibility. I know that feeling all too well. I hope we can lean on each other a bit on those tough days, just knowing we aren't alone.
Ferris - you too. I know it's a heavy burden for you at times. It can definitely feel overwhelming to carve a slice of time for ourselves when we are giving so much to others. Try to focus on the positive. I know she loves you, and she understands your need to unwind. Sending you hugs and strength.
Ma is steaming into her fried eggs.
She used emotional blackmail to get them.
Told me she would rather continue to sleep as she couldn't be bothered to eat.
She certainly doesn't seem to unbothered by the speed of that knife and fork.
She sounds like a championship eggist. ^
Does it work if you do reverse emotional blackmail with her?
How is that emotional blackmail ?
Well my mums operation was cancelled, they needed the space for an emergency surgery... bit of an anti climax after so much preparation. It might be rescheduled for next month, might be the month after...
Oh no Amity! I'm so sorry to hear that! We had the same issue with my mum postponed from April to September with lots of ambiguity even then. I hope the sudden change of plans doesn't cause you additional stress but it must be very frustrating. It's hard not knowing when it will be rescheduled, and adjusting your emotions accordingly. I hope she will be well in the meantime.
Sending hugs to you both.
Certainty is just not attainable at the moment... Ugh.
Thanks Isy, yes it is frustrating and hard to get my head around, but at least it isn't life saving surgery or treatment being cancelled. That kind of powerlessness would be unbearable.
She uses it to get a nice cooked breakfast. She knows I go out of my way if she says she can't be bothered to get up. She said she would have her meds if I did her eggs too.
She knows I worry about her weight. She can be naughty.
I'm not saying you shouldn't cook her breakfast but you are letting your guilt control you - what a hypocrite I am
Check the Feelings Wheel, Ferr. There might be a better word for your emotion than guilt.
What a bummer after all the mental and emotional prep.
And your ma too, being ready to go in.
I have given up on certainty or rather accept that there is very little.
Remember what a great job you are doing.
Ma is on her keyboard, it keeps her out of trouble for a while.
I set it up the other day now summer is over to give her more to do.
Otherwise she would spend all day and night in bed. Apart from going for a fag.
Aye, she rarely cries, almost never, but she sat with her head in her hands for a while after she got the phone call. It was difficult to watch, but a process she needed to go through.
Whatever certainty there could have been, is gone in these pandemic times.
I guess its back to the tried and tested mindfulness and the moment by moment level of certainty, it's not a bad option to have really.
Thank you Tem
Ps is your mum on the internet/ a computer keyboard?
No, ma is on a big keyboard on the table with a comfy swivel chair. I will have to push it back so she can eat her roast dinner I am about to dish up.
These are 2 things I can do to help keep her spirits up.
She does have a tablet and plays bingo on it.
Anything to entertain her - we can be creative for those we care for when they stop caring for themselves or cannot.
I may be able to get her knitting again if she can maintain her energy. But she will defo have a sleep after her dinner.
So an old persons keyboard ?
Yeah, we both play it. Ha.
Changing directions here --
MD was supposed to have a followup phone call with her Neurologist tomorrow, regarding her last EEG and MRI results. They told me at the time that he only does phone calls now and doesn't see patients unless it's an emergency type of situation. Well they just rang and said that he wants to see her in person.
I'm a little bit freaking out. Deep breaths. If it was that much of an emergency he would have seen her sooner, right? Her MRI was 5th of October and the EEG was 11 September.
My estimation is that while its not an emergency, there could be something that needs to be checked in person.
I would see this as a follow up appointment 2.5 weeks after the MRI.
^Agreed, there can be lots of reasons for a doctor to see a patient personally.
And if it was an emergency i would also expect a call sooner.
Thanks! I hope so! I'm not sure what he'd need to do in person for a physical exam because normally it's only reflexes etc., and those haven't been an issue. Changing or stopping her Epilepsy meds could also be done over the phone if needed, without an exam. MD herself was freaked out when she heard that she has to go in person but maybe there's a simple explanation.
By the way April her GP gave her Trazodone to help her sleep problems but I will still ask the Neurologist tomorrow if that's the best course of action. She hasn't tried the Trazodone yet.
^ That's a good idea to consult the neurologist too and let him know what other meds she is on.
There might be a simple explanation that dosn't come to our minds. Just a while ago a family friend of ours has been called to the hospital after a covid test, to retake the test, since her results were not clear. We were a bit worried but she tested negative. Apparently things like this happen sometimes.
They might want to check something with her in person too, like Amity said.
I thought I should update about the stress of going to radiation with my mother, and having PTSD flashbacks in that radiation department:
The area is under strict Covid rules now and I'm not allowed in the hospital with her. I drop her off and wait outside in the car or run errands. I have to admit it kind of worked out well. I would have had a nervous breakdown having to go in that hospital on a daily basis, because of trauma flashbacks and my sensory issues.
I still go to my mother's physio because that's a different hospital in a different county. It's not great either but at least I don't have flashbacks there.
Next week my daughter's medical saga recommences as well, so I'm a bit stressed about it but I'll take it one day at a time.
How is everyone else doing with regard to caring for others?
I'm really glad that you don't have to go into the hospital, both for stress and COVID reasons. It's also really good that it allows you some time to run errands and get those out of the way.
Is the other hospital not as strict and you still have to go inside there? Whenever medical places allow non-patients it's weird (at least to me), you can't even go inside any of the veterinary offices here and have to wait in the car until they come and get your pets.
My mothers health isn't really doing amazing, as usual. She has a possibly fractured leg and a wound on her foot that wont heal, but I've been taking care of them as best as I can and have finally convinced her to go to the doctor today. Hopefully she'll actually attend the appointment now that my dad isn't here and stressing her out. I'm very worried about all the health issues she has and the fact that she hasn't really had the chance to get any of them properly addressed.
The physio hospital does have strict protocol and we go through screening to get in, but it's in an area that has significantly lower numbers and it's not in the same lockdown jurisdiction as the radiation hospital. To be honest the hospital staff likely aren't thrilled that I go to physio with my mother and they would likely prefer I don't go. I think they've been making an exception because she's in her 80's and recovering from surgery. Now I've set a precedent and I feel uncomfortable telling my mother I don't want to go anymore. That's hard for me because of selective mutism. There are about 5 or 6 more appointments so maybe I can point out that I'm not allowed in the radiation hospital, so I shouldn't go in the physio hospital either.
Our vets were closed like yours and people had to wait in their cars, but for the past three months or so they were allowing one patient in at a time and disinfecting in between. I'm pretty sure they stopped that again recently but I'm not sure. I'll see next week when Ouiji has her second shots.
Your mother has a possible leg fracture?? What type of wound is on her foot? Is it an injury or a growth? I'm glad you were able to convince her to seek medical care. I hope she will go to the appointment. Does she have a social worker, therapist, or advocate to help her emotionally?
It's very nice of them to be allowing you to go in and help her, but I agree that maybe pointing out the fact you're not allowed at the other hospital would be a good way to bring it up. You could possibly even mention how useful the extra time to do errands is.
When our dog was ill the vet did allow us in once to show us how to do subcutaneous fluids on her, but pretty much if you don't have an actual reason to be in there for your pet they just have you wait. I hope they allow you in with Ouiji though because I know how stressful the vet was for our dog to go in without us.
I'm pretty sure the issue with her leg is at least a partial fracture. She fell a month or so ago and says her shin bone still hurts and that the area around it is swollen all the time. The wound on her foot is from banging her toe on a coffee table and the area between her little toe and the other toe split open. She refused to get stitches because she "waited too long". It was finally closing up, but reopened last week and she still didn't get stitches. I don't think she has any therapists or anything at the moment. We haven't had a lot of money due to my dad getting fired and she doesn't go anywhere when my dad is here because she's afraid to leave me and the pets with him.
Oh my gosh. That sounds really difficult. I hope someone here can advise you what options there might be for medical insurance where you live. I always forget that people in other countries are often underinsured or possibly not insured at all. What a difficult situation that must be. I'm hoping that at the very least she can send a picture to her doctor for advice without leaving the house unless it's deemed necessary? I wish I knew what to say or how to help. I hope your teacher has continued to be supportive. Maybe they have some suggestions or can direct you both to some community resources?