Today marks the first in a series of posts that I will be doing about CAREGIVERS. This also serves as a hint to those of you that I asked to guest post (hint, hint, dear hubby, that also means you), to get me your responses ASAP. I've got the first two returned...now I need the rest of you.
First off, "caregiver" is a pretty generic term, and if you think about it, I have had so many people taking care of me and my family over the course of this past year and throughout my diagnosis and treatments. There are the people that have fed us, given me rides to the hospital, taken care of the kids, and helped us out financially. For all of these things I am truly grateful!
However, for the purposes of this series, "caregiver" means the primary person responsible on a day-to-day, round-the-clock basis for taking care of the patient and all of their specific needs. So, in my case, my husband Keith. (At the end of this series, I will be posting my thoughts on how amazing he has been throughout this entire process. But I'm not sure that I can be coherent enough right now to put my thoughts into words).
Let's just say that he's been a rock and exactly what I needed. And sometimes I'm amazed at what I find myself asking him to do. Or rather, not asking him to do, but needing him to do and not wanting to admit it.
When you think of yourself as a pretty self-sufficient person ready to take on the world, and then you find yourself in a position where you cannot even come close to being that person you once were, it is sometimes VERY HARD to admit that you need someone to take care of you. And you might not be the best patient. And you might do stupid things like trying to carry heavy crap across a soccer a field when you shouldn't...or unload boxes and boxes of textbooks at work...or try and stand up long enough to cook dinner. You should see Keith and the kids respond to my follies: Keith just looks at me with that "would you just give me the blankety-blank cooler before you actually do die and I have to carry you across the field too?!" look; cute little girl child hovers around me waiting to prop me up, or pick up everything; and surly teenage boy gives me the huffy teenage eyeroll before saying, "seriously mom, just give me the _______/shut up and put on my sweatshirt/give me the keys, I'm driving."
Next week, I'll be posting the first of my "guest posts" from people that I know who have been caregivers (which, by the way, is a SUCKY job that I'm not sure I'd be good at). Until then, I thought that I'd start with a link to a great article that I read this summer about just this problem: letting a caregiver actually take care of you. It's important to understand that caregivers want to help you and taking care of you is probably the only way that they can feel like they are doing something to help you. It's kind of a give-and-take relationship that you both get something from. Seriously, you have to read it...click here.
And if you've been checking in here often enough, you'll understand immediately why I love this article so much. HILARIOUS! And the scene he describes is almost identical to ones I've had with my family on more than one occasion (minus the cool, international locale).