Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Caregiving is Challenging

I'm mentally and physically out of practice in the caregiving role. And, Skip's needs are more significant now, while she's bedbound, then they were before going to the hospital. I'm struggling with meeting Skip's needs and also meeting some of mine.

While Skip was in the hospital, when I visited I watched a parade of aides and nurses coming and going, tending to her. Now, virtually all of that is being taken care of by me. The wound nurse has come a number of times to change the wound vac dressing, MW has been here for about 14 hours total since Skip got home. Other than that, it's all been me. Bathing, medications, food prep and cleanup, laundry and much, much more.

I start most days in pretty good spirits. This usually can get me through morning pills, breakfast and a bed bath. As the day wears on, though, the spirits dampen with the continuous caregiving responsibilities. I've hit the cranky wall at least once a day.

Right now, my life consists primarily of caregiving tasks, escaping into games on Facebook and sleeping.

Tomorrow, we'll have the first visit from a home health aide. She will handle the bathing, linen changing and such. This will help alleviate some of the burden I'm feeling. She should be coming 4 times a week.

My key objective through this week is to burn-in the care routines, getting them accomplished faster and more predictably so I'll be able to balance them equitably with work responsibilities that start up on Monday. That is a big objective and I'm not certain it'll be achieved. I think the sum total of caregiving demands will have to be reduced for me to give a reasonable amount of focus to my job. A job that will be more demanding than normal when I get back at it because I've been out this week. In short, I'm pretty concerned.


Bibliotekaren said...

I can't think of words of encouragement that don't sound thin and ring hollow. You're pushing the boulder up the hill right now and that can't last forever. I do hope some thing, a new resource, a new way of doing a task, whatever, comes into the situation for you.

Take care and thanks for your honest sharing.

Peace Be With You said...

I agree with the above comment and at a loss for words I can only say, blessings to you.

steve said...

Hi Cranky - Your plate was full before Skip's holiday vacation. It's not surprising that added responsibilities and changes in routine have left you feeling a bit overwhelmed. The project management triangle of scope, schedule, and resources dictates that if you are going to take on additional tasks in one area, you either need more help, more time, or fewer tasks elsewhere. Don't run yourself into the ground trying to squeeze every last ounce of productivity and efficiency out of yourself. When I tried that, I just got more and more frustrated when things didn't go as planned.

Then again, I also feel guilty when there are things that need to be done, and I'm laying on the couch taking a nap. But I feel so much better after the nap that I've made it a required part of my day.

So call in the reinforcements where you can, at least until your routines become more consistent. And they will.

Cranky said...

Judy and Karen - thanks for your words of encouragement. They do help.

Steve - too funny, your words about the PM triangle. Brought me back to the days when I was thinking about PMI certification. (I no longer manage huge projects, so I didn't pursue the certification.) But, you're right, those tradeoffs exist, whether you're talking an implementation or your home life.

I, too, feel guilty when MW is here and I let her answer Skip's call for assistance. But, I continue to do it because it's such a relief to have someone else carry the load, if only briefly.

kmilyun said...


I also am a loss at words to express my thoughts. Coming from the other perspective of this MS deal I am sure that I can not truly understand the emotions, frustrations, and well, the whole ball of wax so to say.

As you provide love and care for Skip please do take care of yourself also. Just how the H your suppose to do that I do not know.

I know that Skip is blessed to have you and you her.

Not sure this came out right but I tried :)

Diane J Standiford said...

Makes you wonder: How did I get here and why me? I am both caregiver and care needer, and most days I just feel exhausted and lost...looking for a way out. But I know for her I will get up and move toward the next day, hoping/wishing---one day it will be restful and we both will be happy.

Cranky said...

Jan - well said, thank you.

Diane - I don't know how you do it. I hope you get restfulness and happiness.

awb said...

Cranky - I'm hooked on the bejeweled game on facebook, getting crushed by school friends and my son. Still a hoot, and a good release.


Cranky said...

Andy - I am hooked on FarmVille primarily. Played bejeweled pre FB days, so on to new addictions. :-)

Definitely a good release.

Herrad said...

Hi Cranky,
Sorry to hear you are overwhelmed doing everything again.
Hope you can get some more help.
Take it as easy as possible.
Big hugs to you both

Cranky said...

Herrad - thanks. But, it is getting better these last few days, fortunately.