Yep, that’s right. And this dreaded S-word is the word SICK!
Everyone dreads being sick but noone more than a caregiver especially if you are the sole caregiver of your loved one. This is one of my big fears. That I will get sick and be unable to look after my Mom.
I have been very blessed with good health over the last 4 years that my Mom has lived with me. I have had my share of colds, odd sick feeling days but no major flu or other bug that has totally forced me to come to a screeching halt. I came close a couple of weeks ago when I was confined to the couch for several days but I was still able to get up and get Mom her supper, and look after her other needs. It was touch and go but I did it. BUT… it scared me.
It really made me think about all the caregivers who are relied upon daily and who often like myself do it mostly alone. It’s a serious issue. Someone else’s life is in our hands – their welfare, their well-being hinges on our staying well enough to do what has to be done.
Right now is the time when people are getting their flu shots. I’m going to get mine in the next couple of days. I hear the strain of the flu this year is very nasty. And I ‘ll make sure my Mom get’s hers too. Not great consolation that I won’t get sick but I will take every precaution I can.
For me it’s not only getting physically sick I worry about. Being autistic, I deal with anxiety and depression and huge mood swings where my emotions become so intense I don’t know what to do with them. Then there’s the feelings of being so totally overwhelmed that I just want to run far away. What if I got too sick emotionally?? I worry about this as the time of being a caregiver stretches on into the future with no end in site and that other dreaded S-word, the word STRESS gets more and more intense. It’s being in a crazy headspace where you want it to end but then the end means you lose the one you love. And you can’t escape the craziness of this dilemma. It goes round and round in your head every day, every moment of every day. I want it to end. NO, I DON’T! I want it to end. NO, I DON’T! It’s like being in a personal hell. And you walk around with a smile on your face as you work, shop, meet with friends and noone knows the hell in your head.
I don’t know what I would do if I did get sick. Well, I do have a plan of care made up of all the details of my Mom’s care. I do have good friends who would probably come to my aid. I have PSWs and nurses who could intervene. The flip side of this is if I get sick will I give it to Mom?? That ‘s my other worry. She may not be out in public to pick up a bug but I am out nearly every day – in stores, on the bus etc etc. It only takes one handshake or a hand placed on a germ infested hand rail on the bus to do it’s dastardly business. I use a lot of hand sanitizer. Kills 99% of the germs. I still wonder about the other 1%.
I guess I just keep praying that I won’t get so sick as to not be able to look after Mom. I have always maintained that God gave me this job to do so He will give me what I need or protect me from what I don’t need to do the job He has given me. That is my hope tonight and tomorrow and the next day….