How to cope with care giving in the middle of high stress…by francy Dickinson
OK so some days the stress and anger simply hit the screen of life and I have had one of those lately!
- Pressure building was my husband fighting Alzheimer’s and having more problems with personal accidents and the clean-up that involves
- Then I added on a nasty fight with spring allergies. My eyes have been swollen shut most of the last two weeks. The itch and worry over my eyes has not made me a happy camper.
- Worry over money has been a big problem for me and all seniors living on small budgets. Its a daily worry and now that George has lost his ability to understand that problem, it is getting worse. He forgets we can not spend money and often asks for things that are not in our budget and its hard on me to tell him, NO
- Then the car stopped working in the middle of the road while my friend, Cheryl was driving. She was suck in the middle of traffic and called all worried
- I was feeling panic over-coming me…I sat down and tried to take the issues into mind and be calm
- I called AAA car club and renewed our membership so the tow would be covered
- I called Cheryl and told her help was on the way.
- I called the car repair place and told them my car was on the way and I would have to OK repairs because of money restrictions
- I called my sister and asked if she would help me with the repair cost and I would pay her back
- I called Cheryl again and made sure she was OK…she said that the tow truck was there
- I called a dear friend and asked her to go and pickup Cheryl and bring her home
All during this problem, my eyes are swollen and I can barely see the screen of the phone to make the calls. George is in the living room yelling at me and telling me how stupid I am and how I should listen to him and let him make the decisions. Bad language is flying in the living room and the people on the phone could certainly hear it. What to do? The stress building and building?
- I took a deep breath and went in to George and told him to calm down and he was not going to speak to me in that way
- I was angry and I expressed my anger…I told him to be quiet while I tried to figure out how to handle all the problems- I kept my voice in a calm tone so I would not push him into any more anger
- I removed myself from the living room…closed the doors to the kitchen to block the noise and I fixed George tea and a sugar treat
- This sugar treat would serve to raise his level of energy and give his brain a boost and usually cools down the anger
- His inability to “fix the problem” was giving him a power problem – he wanted to be the answer man, but could only be angry
- Returning to him with a time out and telling him Cheryl was fine and on her way home and car would be fixed
- George was too angry to accept it as the end of the situation he kept up the ranting for over two hours
- George was then too tired to even walk to the bathroom and had to call for my help
- I put him into bed after the bathroom and turned on the TV with a military channel to take his mind in another direction
- I closed the door and called my sister again to talk about the money and the repair shop to get the news that the fuel pump had died and would need to order the part
- I fixed myself a cup of tea…I went out the front door and walked around my house…even thou I was avoiding pollen, I needed the air
- I came back in to another call from the repair shop that there may be more repairs to come
- I fixed myself some lunch and drank water with an Emergen-cee package of 1,000 vit C
- I took the dogs out to the back yard and swept the walk
- I came back in and cleaned up the kitchen and checked on George, who was now asleep
- High Event was over and George would forget the entire argument when he woke up- but I wouldn’t
No I was not OK….
Yes, it was a nasty ‘Event’
Yes, I kept my mind working on life instead of focused on not having money, or car problems and care giving problems
I can not change my income at this point in my life…but I can still change my overall thinking process. George is to unwell with Alzheimer’s to correct his outbursts….but I can keep myself from jumping into his anger pool.
I know that the job of a spouse to care for their loved one is a hard job. But I think the anger issue and the lack of the one being cared-for to appreciate the care that is given– is the hardest issue I have at this time. Yes, I often feel badly that I am angry at the way George reacts and his lack of appreciation…but NO, I can not change his frame of mind. I can only do things to give myself – my own feeling of appreciation.
- I made a few calls to friends to hear them say I was OK…and I was a good person, I needed that
- I took a long shower and tried to tend to my face and eyes to relieve the discomfort
- I put on spring clothing so I had brighter colors around me
- I did not go off my diet, I am on a low carb diet and I simply had a special chocolate drink that was low in carbs
- I moved around the house…getting myself filled with movement and listening to music helping my stress dissolve
- I played with my dogs…giving them care and their kisses brought me happiness
- I stayed away from George so my mind was kept calm
- I sat down before I went to bed and wrote out my worries and upset in a journal so my feelings would be honored, but not haunt me all night
- I allowed myself to cry out the upset and I was able to sleep
We may not be able to make life less stressful..but we can face the stress and work through it. I did not fix myself a drink, or take a sleeping pill. I knew that would be an unwise way to escape the pain. I wanted to face the pain and change it…not run from it. Because I am a strong woman that can calm myself down, think through my problems and ask friends to help me come up with answers.
I wanted to share this Event with you…because I know if I’m having a hard time….so are you. Giving care to others is not an easy or fun thing to do. Pretending that spouses giving care is no big deal is a lie. Life hits and family members need to be cared for no matter what is going on in your daily life. I understand the pain you feel, the fear that takes over your heart and the uncertainty of your own future.
Try hard to remember there are thousands of us going through this experience and there is a tomorrow, there will be a happier time ahead and you can catch moments of joy even on days filled with ‘Events’.
Being honest and open with our friends, family and our own self…is the most important action we can take. Just hold on, because I am sending you all prayers of strength…we can do this,we really can and we will rise again to a life that is filled with memories of good times, not bad. Memories of giving our loved ones our love and our all….and knowing their lives were filled with our loving care all through their end of life journey.