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Old 08-14-2015, 11:36 AM
 
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Whenever there is family medical issue (someone is sick, staying in hospital, surgery) I am the first to volunteer my time. I stay overnight in hospital, I take time off to drive them to doctor..etc I am there. But that's only for short term, after 3rd day of putting all my energy into a sick person I get tired and selfish and bitter.

How do people keep their sanity and continue to take care of others for years and years? I am worried when my parents actually get old enough to need constant care I might not be able to manage it. My husband this week had knee surgery (30 year old guy) & the first 2 days it was all about making things comfortable for him. I woke up every 2 hour to give him pain medication, food, new ice pack, change position of his leg..etc The 3rd day I was feeling the burn & started getting irritated but still marched on. But the 4th day, I felt like I wanted to curled up in a ball and cry my eyes out & scream "this is too much". I wasn't mad at him or anyone but i was getting angry, felt over burden and loosing my cool. Hubby noticed my exhaustion too & kept telling me to take break/take care of myself & sent me to work today so I am busy doing something else.

This made me realize, this is just a glimpse of the future. How do people manage to give long term care?
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Old 08-14-2015, 02:58 PM
 
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Why did you have to get up every 2 hours? I had major abdominal surgery, was home on the second day, and hubby only had to check on me if I needed something and asked for it. I had everything at hand and a TV. I knew what medicine to take and a 30 year old man should surely be able to handle his own medication.

Maybe you are just expecting too much of yourself and doing more than was necessary? Perhaps he sent you to work because you were driving him crazy too?
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Old 08-14-2015, 03:16 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
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Yes, it isn't clear to me why you had to baby your DH for as long as you did. Perhaps there is another issue? Pain meds every two hours is quite a lot of pain meds. But I haven't had knee surgery, so I admit I could be wrong here.

If you love the person who is incapacitated, then you do what you have to do. My philosophy is to take things a step at a time. Otherwise you get too overwhelmed. With elders, many times you can't do for them what needs to be done. There are things you can do. For me, it was handling my mom's bills. My sis handled things "on the ground" so to speak. But neither of us could do the day to day for mom, for several reasons. So, we had her go to assisted care. But others do handle the day to day, and hats off to them.

I think your parents should plan for the future, but perhaps they aren't old enough yet to think they need to? If they are young enough, perhaps they could buy nursing home insurance. But at some point you and they need to talk about what they want if they become impaired. Ideally, they need to put some of this in writing via whatever your state uses to guide
medical pros near end of life. And, they should tell you how they want to be treated if they are declining and can't function well on their own.

These conversations are hard to have. And your folks might not be ready.

IMO, it is wrong of elder parents to expect their children to give up careers to give them day to day care. It isn't a good financial decision for the adult children, for one thing. If you do have discussions with your parents, it might help you to feel some control over all of this.

It doesn't sound as if you have had children. If you do have children, you will discover a certain amount of patience you never knew you had. This might also help your feelings about caregiving.

I don't think there are any easy answers to your questions.
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Old 08-15-2015, 07:36 AM
 
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There's the early part of any injury or illness where yu have to respond quickly. You have to put in a lot more time and energy to stabilize the situation. If you're at home, you have to set up the environment so that the long-term care goes more smoothly. Once you have the person recovering from a short-term medical situation or comfortable with their long-term condition, you should be spending less time hands-on. You should have come up to speed on what needs to be done for them and have set up the medical equipment and supplies to make their life more comfortable and your job easier.
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Old 08-15-2015, 08:44 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
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My achilles tendons disintegrated and had to be rebuilt (thanks to a round of the antibiotic Cipro). This is a very debilitating surgery and a long, painful recovery time. So prior to the surgery, I set up my "station" so that I wouldn't have to be getting up and down or calling someone to help me all the time. I had a mini fridge stocked with drinks and snacks (yogurt, that sort of thing), a Keurig, the TV controls, baby wipes, disposable toothbrushes, some personal hygiene items including some simple makeup and a mirror as well as hair products, a trash can, books, an extra shirt and panties, you name it. I set my alarm on my phone to remind me of when to take my meds. I had my cell phone and charger right next to me so I could call my husband if I needed help getting up or getting in and out of the shower/bath (a bath was actually easier for me but I digress).

My point is that I enjoy being independent and didn't want to have to depend on someone else every two hours. My husband checked on me throughout the day, but he was able to leave me alone for several hours at a time and if he came back to the bedroom and I was asleep he knew he didn't "have to do anything." He REALLY appreciated this and I REALLY appreciated not having to rely on someone else to help me with mundane little things.

You are probably doing too much for other people - and some people really buy into that whole codependency thing when they're sick or have had surgery. Some people get bored or start feeling very needy when they're recovering from surgery or an illness or when they're housebound. It's nice that you're empathetic but you need to learn how to draw that line in the sand, for your sake as well as theirs. You can be a better help to them for longer if you don't burn yourself out or cater to unreasonable requests.
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Old 08-16-2015, 09:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silibran View Post

It doesn't sound as if you have had children. If you do have children, you will discover a certain amount of patience you never knew you had. This might also help your feelings about caregiving.

I don't think there are any easy answers to your questions.
You are correct, I don't have kids. I am hoping we can start actively planning on having children after husband gets better. But this incident made me question if I am ready. I often hear my friends tell me how they have to feed their toddler every 2 hours or can't sleep at night because of baby. I experienced it first hand this week & wonder how will I manage. hopefully it will be easier
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Old 08-16-2015, 10:00 PM
 
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Thanks for everyone's input. Things have been much better day 5 on & this weekend has been how I envisioned the entire surgery will be like. I still assist him: get his food for him from kitchen downstairs, help with his physical therapy (daily exercise), get him ice/medication..etc as needed. But its few hours here and there & then he is good on his own. I am ok with this level of care but the first 4 days were horrible.

Day 1 & 2 - he was uncomfortable all the time, wanted to change position (move from sofa to bed, bed to sofa) constantly but he couldn't bend his knee so getting in & out of bed/sofa needed assistant & then I had to stack bunch of pillow to keep his leg leveled. With his constant moving, the rooms were always messing so I would move him to one room, clean up the room he was in & few min later he would want to move back to that room. I couldn't even scream at him because I know he is in pain.

By 3rd - we saw his physical therapist for fist time & she pushed him to do more on his own & gave list of exercise to do. This helped him try to be more self sufficient & for me to back up a lil. But then he had mental breakdown after seeing his own knee so I felt even more pressure. Things got better after day 5.

I also realize while I was busy taking care of him/feeding him, I skipped many of my meals. while I gave him sponge bath, I forgot to take shower myself. All these little things added up. now I am much better, lets see how next week goes
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Old 08-17-2015, 07:55 AM
 
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Some people are good at "hands on" caregiving, and some aren't.

The situation with your partner shows that you might be prone to getting overwhelmed - in which case it suggests that if you find yourself in a situation such as this long term (whether for a child, or a parent, or your partner) you might need to take care not to get overwhelmed and to make time for yourself.

But - how you react to something now, might also change in 5 / 10 years. i.e. what overwhelms someone when they're 20, is not necessarily something that will overwhelm them at 50 ... depending on the life they've lived inbetween.

Which is to say - everyone handles it differently. Some outright refuse, and that's that. Some appear to handle it effortlessly, then die of depression when they no longer have someone to care for. Some gripe and vent and appear to despise those they care for - but they somehow do it. Some make strict boundaries and say I will provide "THIS MUCH" and refuse to go over.

There are a million different ways.

Mentally finding what works for you and adjusting that as you go along is the best advice I can give.

And - if you can't (really can't, you're going to lose your sanity, or wahtever..) then don't. Your loved one would not want you to permanently damage yourself on their behalf.
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Old 08-17-2015, 09:34 AM
 
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Thanks, I wish I could be the type that
Quote:

"Some make strict boundaries and say I will provide "THIS MUCH" and refuse to
go over."
I didn't mention this in last post but on day 5th after husband went to sleep, I went to another room and cried my eyes out about how this is too much for me. For last 2 days I felt like something inside of me wanted to burst out crying & I finally had chance to do that. Sometimes crying helps a lot
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Old 08-17-2015, 10:27 AM
 
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So - and this is going to go into "therapy" type questions... (i.e. questions you ask yourself, or you discuss with a therapist if you decide you want to understand this better, or change this about yourself..)

"Why" was it too much?

Are you young, and you feel you shouldn't have to do this right now? Was it too much physically and you feel you don't have the strength? Do you have a demanding job and need downtime at home and feel this pushed you over the edge? Do you like routine (specific ways of doing things) and because this was out of your routine it made you extremely uncomfortable/overwhelmed?

Please keep in mind - you don't need to answer this here. (I don't know you and don't care what your answers are). Just if you think you're getting overwhelmed more easily than you'd like - you need to start thinking about "Why". That can either lead to things you might want to change, or let your realize you DON'T want to change.

Its not something others can answer for you.

You make sacrifices because YOU want to. Or because, even though they suck, the reward is worth it for YOU. But only you can decide that's true. They may not be worth it for you. But no one can make those decisions for you, and you have to get to know yourself to figure those things out.

I hope your husband recovers well, and I hope you'll take care of yourself, and - if its something you want to know about - take some time to think about why this was so overwhelming for you.
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