Who cares? Was the first chapter in one of my study modules a few years ago. The actual point of the chapter is not so much about the person requiring care but about the caregiver. Who cares for the caregiver?
Over the past seven months I have become more and more of a caregiver to my Mom after her fall and breaking of her hip. The hip has healed just fine, Mom walks more and more without the walking frame but Mom has changed. Before the hip fall, for about four years, we experienced very black days, Mom’s mood was nothing short of scary. However since the hip fall, those moods have given way to something else.
It appears that Mom had very little Iron in her body and has been taking Iron supplements which have really improved a number of things; mood, stability, concentration and confusion, normal Mom has returned!! That’s all great but now we experience ‘Sundown Dementia’ which it appears affects people who do not have, or have not been diagnosed with dementia as well as people who do have dementia. Mom does not have dementia, this is not me saying so, the healthcare teams have confirmed this. Sundown Dementia affects people’s body clocks, especially in the Winter time when days are dark most of the time. My father and I have spent many a night awake and with Mom as she tries to break out of the house to go home. She accuses us of keeping her prisoner. I get called all names you can think of and then some. It switches on and off like a light switch and we experience an all nighter about once every three weeks. I am not liked at all by my Mom some days and that hurts a lot, but the next day, the next hour, all is well, till next time. We can get smaller sundown moments during the day but we have found that if sufficient water is drank, it is almost a miracle cure!! Getting Mom to drink water is another story…
I’m lucky that my boss is so understanding and I’ve been allowed to work from home and phase a return to the office. This has worked well at home but still causes me anxiety as I await a phone call that something is wrong with either Mom or Dad. I’ve suddenly become responsible for almost everything from healthcare to shopping, cooking to entertainer, cleaner to, well, carer. It’s hard. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem doing this for my parents. Sometimes though I wonder where have I gone? How has every minute of the day become consumed with items on my ‘to do’ lists.
Lack of sleep, stress and anxiousness lead me to the doctor myself. I cannot be ill. Who cares for them if I’m not here. After some tests the doctor was satisfied that my symptoms were all stress related. I had to find some ways to relieve some pressure and get some me time.
If you’ve read my blogs before you know I do Zumba once a week, I’ve taken up running following the ‘Couch to 5k’ plan (that’s a whole other blog post), I love to sing and am visiting my vocal coach each week and if I get the opportunity to see my b/f now and again it’s a bonus. These things have truly helped me to escape, in mind, body and spirit, even for half an hour. I never thought that a fifteen minute soak in the bath would ever become a rare treat for me. That a day out walking with himself was so special because I can’t go missing for a whole day anymore. I feel sad, anxious, depressed and tearful and yet I also feel happy, joyful and I’ve not lost my sparkle. After all, you just have to paint on that smile and get on with it. My parents gave up time and effort to bring me up, it’s payback time.
Thank you for reading my blog 😎