The majority of my time is spent writing and speaking about the necessity of taking care of oneself, especially when caring for an aging loved one. Recently I have discovered that, while caring for 3 of my own family members, I seem to have forgotten my own message! The realization came in short-lived thoughts of self-care over the last few months and then hit me like a brick last week in what I now refer to as the “Red Leg Incident“.
My husband, Paul, who had hip surgery at the end of last year, shared with me, in passing, that he had been to the doctor for a concern he had about a redness on his leg. The doctor sent him to the hospital for an ultrasound to ensure that there were no blood clots which can be life-threatening especially after having major surgery. That day I had gone to doctor appointments with 2 other family members, one of which had just been discharged from the hospital the night before.
Paul hadn’t told me of the redness, nor had he shared that he was going to the doctor because he knew that I have had a lot on my caregiving plate and my plate was overflowing that particular day. However; when he did tell me post-facto and, shared that his reasons for omitting the information from our prior conversations was that he didn’t want me to have one more person to worry about, I went off the handle.
In a move straight out of the exorcist, my head began to spin and pea soup flew out of my mouth (not really, but you get my point). I literally lost my mind and my genuine concern for my husband’s well being quickly turned to a fury of epic proportions. I spent the next 2 days in a constant state of unmerited antagonism and aggravation towards my husband. Fortunately, after a few days of dodging my decaying demeanor he realized that my anger was really coming from a place of complete exhaustion and an intense anxiety about losing the people I love the most.
I have to be honest; my human nature causes me to want to only write about topics that make me “look good” in the eyes of my readers. Conversely; I am committed to writing blogs that share with readers that a) they are not alone in their struggles to assist the people they love and b) help is available.
That said, here is what I have done to take care of myself.
- I apologized to my husband and, thankfully, was forgiven for my behavior.
- Took time over the weekend for myself and said “no” to invitations I didn’t have the time or energy to do.
- Most importantly and most challenging of the 3: I ASKED FOR HELP and found that others were more than willing to take over some of the caregiving duties I had assigned solely to myself.
Bottom line: taking care of yourself is not only a priority for your well-being but for the well-being of those around you.
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