Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The path of the Caregiver is a difficult one...

as we watch our loved ones slowly descend into the unknown. We watch over them, like a Mother, as their health, their independence, their strength gradually slips away.

We grieve our losses. We grieve for the loss of our once sparkling lives; lives filled with joy, hard work, passion, careers, friends, good health taken utterly for granted, even at our stage of life (middle-age, grandparent-age). Not that we havent' seen others suffer, but when you feel vibrant and happy inside, your own health is not an issue.

But the grieving process is just beginning. "Every day above ground is a good day" said someone on my COPD Caregiver's forum. She had just lost her mother and was grieving openly. I still have my husband to warm my bed, to sit with at the dinner table, to share a coffee and a kiss. I'm lucky. But I know it won't last.

And yet, with all this complaining, I feel an un-ease deep within my body. I feel disloyal at even creating this blog. Here I am whining and crying at how my life has changed. How difficult and unhappy it's become, as I try to put on a cheerful face for my husband. Am I being selfish??

I once gave my sister *sh..* for complaining about her lot in life. Her husband is brain-damaged. He had fallen down the stairs years ago, went into a coma and ended up in hospital for months. When he finally got out, he was a very different man. Could not stand noise of any kind, so no restaurants, no socializing, no music; couldn't remember how to work the computer, the telephone, didn't know what love meant. His body is fine, his mind changed forever. Just like the Alzheimer patient or anyone with a mental illness for that manner. They look the same, but when you look deep into their eyes, they are not.

After listening to her complain endlessly about "poor me", I wrote her a nasty email. "Stop thinking about youself. What about him? Don't you think he has it worse than you do?? After all it's his life. You can go and do anything you like, drive a car, go shopping, meet friends, chat on your computer - what about your husband? Get up off your butt and stop your crying!!

How about that for sisterly love? And well, what goes around comes around - Now it's my turn, as I walk in her shoes, bemoaning the loss of my "normal life". And yes, I'm choking on my words right now.


Grammy said...

It was easier for me to be the one in the hospital bed in Jan 2008. Than It was to watch my hubby. Through bypass in Jan 06.
It is harder to be the care giver than the person
who is sick. I have decided to start at the beginning of your blog. Because copd is new to us now. No o2 involvement yet. Jerry has Sleep apenia to get a cpac for on Oct 9. This too is new for us now. He wakes me up out of a sleep to tell him to wake up and breath. I don't know how it happens I just some how know I have to wake up.

Wendy said...

God Bless you Grammy. Illness is difficult to cope with. I am glad you found me. I see a lot of similarities in our lives.
Cpap will be hard for him to get used to.
Oh, I know about waking in the night to check to see if he is breathing. After 6 years, I no longer do that. I cannot control what happens in life. And without sleep, my body is beginning to hurt.