Monday, August 12, 2013

My Feelings About Caregiving

The way I feel about caregiving is similar to the way New Englanders talk about the weather. We say "if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes, it'll change." Sometimes I feel that caregiving is a crushing burden that has overtaken my life making me bitter and angry. Other times, I feel that caring for Skip is a wonderful expression of love and it's great knowing how good she feels when she's lovingly well-cared for. I can experience variations of these 2 perspectives in the space of one conversation.

Lately, I've been mostly on the positive end of the pendulum. I do have a cranky moment at least once a day, typically when I'm tired at the end of the day, but primarily I'm in good spirits and upbeat. This is a welcome change for both Skip and me, since I was feeling darkly, negative and angry for months. (Is darkly a word?)

Another thing I feel as a caregiver is guilt .... What I do feels like it is never enough. I get angry. I sit on the couch playing games on my computer while other people (PCAs) take care of Skip. I'm not disabled and Skip is profoundly so. Of course, guilt isn't a very productive feeling and it can tend to turn me to the dark side. I try to psych myself out of it with a rational, internal conversation. Unfortunately, though, that niggling feeling of guilt manages eventually to pop up again. From what I've read from other caregivers, I think feelings of guilt go with the territory.

I wonder what other people think of caregiving and how I'm doing ...

8 comments:

zoomdoggies said...

Caregiving? I don't know how you do it, Cranky. I don't know how Scarecrow does it (although I'm massively glad he does). I feel guilty for taking over his life. He could've walked away – many do. I don't know how he feels about it. He's a guy, and guys don't talk about that kind of stuff. We're just doing whatever it takes to keep the wheels on the cart. I imagine you guys are doing the same.

I just know I'm lucky. Really lucky. And so is Skip.

Cranky said...

Zoom - I'm sure Scarecrow would rather be with you and be your caregiver than be with anyone else. That's how I feel about my life with Skip. We're lucky too.

Theodore Wong said...

"I feel that caring for Skip is a wonderful expression of love and it's great knowing how good she feels when she's lovingly well-cared for." - It's indeed a wonderful expression of your true love for her. I know it's not easy to deal with the guilt, anger, and the burden. However, try to put yourself in her shoes. Do you think she'll leave you in the middle of the hardest part of your life? I don't think so. When you think you're at the point of giving up, think about how New Englanders talk about the weather. If you don't like your situation, wait for five minutes. It will change. :)

Live-Incomfort.co.uk

Cranky said...

Theodore - so true.

Webster said...

Cranky, I am lucky to be married to a man who seems to take care giving in stride. He makes me to all that I can, and isn't quick to jump in to help; but he will assist me when I need him to.

I do think we need to get some training for transfers when I a, so weak I can't do my part. Some of his methods are painful to me. The other day his method wasn't working and I had to ask him to take a few minutes to see if we could find another way. He did, and we did. I am ever so grateful for him.

Cranky said...

Your husband sounds like a great guy, with a good intuitive sense of what to do.

Skip never used a transfer board until a physical therapist suggested it and showed her how to do it. The transfer board was a successful strategy for her for a number of years.

lightning36 said...

You're pretty hard on yourself for all you do. Give yourself a break. I hope you are also building in some time away to help you keep your sanity.

Cranky said...

Light - it's easy to be hard on yourself as a caregiver, because there's so much to do, it could suck your life away if you didn't set limits. Sometimes I set limits by getting angry.

Time away - yep. Today, I'm going to Foxwoods for the day to play some poker.