For most of my adult life I have been a caregiver. Even before I graduated from high school, I worked at an elementary school, working with special ed children. Then when I had my own children I worked a Day Care in my own home. I did that for years. I worked as a CNA/CMT (Certified Nurse’s Aide and Certified Medication Technician) for several years in a Nursing Home – again, caring for other people. I was always ready and eager to help someone, family or not. I always tried to be there for my sisters, grandmother, dad, my friends, and my children. As my kids grew older, they needed me less. They are now grown and living elsewhere. The problem with them growing older is that so am I! I am in my 50’s now and my health isn’t what it once was. I can’t do what I use to do.
I’m currently taking care of my dad, who is nearly 80 years old. He still takes care of himself for the most part but I make sure he takes his meds, gets to his appointments, eats right, has clean clothes etc. It’s getting harder for me to take care of things as I did before. I can’t clean the house the way it should be cleaned due to my chronic pain issues. Dad helps with things I can’t reach – he’s tall and I’m very short. He helps keep the kitchen clean. When I cook, he washes the dishes. He helps me keep the bathroom clean and does a multitude of tasks around the house so that I don’t have to. He even folds clothes! I appreciate what he does to help me, and he appreciates what I do to help him. It’s nice to be appreciated….
I feel that Dad really is my best friend and probably the ONLY person I can count on in this world for moral support when I need it. The problem is that most of my friends and my sisters live in other states. Extended family all live in other states. My kids have their own lives to lead, their own problems, etc. I virtually have no one to hold my hand and lend me an ear….except Dad. He doesn’t understand many things women go through, or things I personally have been through. It doesn’t always help to have him to lean on. In fact, sometimes it makes things worse. He’s a man. (I’d like to see men go through some of the shit women go through on a daily basis and see how well they cope!)
I guess I’m just feeling bummed these days. I sit here alone most of the time with my Facebook friends and family….and Dad. This is probably where I will still be in 5 years.
Debbie, you are so right, our lives mirror one another pretty well. It’s tough being the lifetime caregiver and even harder on. those of us with the caregiver role when we feel we are not needed anymore. I went through a tough period during “empty nest” syndrome and dealing with chronic pain, well I understand that too. I have MS, Fibromyalgia and Sjogren’s Syndrome and just turned 50. If it wasn’t for facebook and being in touch with family, friends and even my online family which I have had since the beginning of myspace I’d lose my ever loving mind. I think one of the toughest things is people don’t get us. In all fairness how can anyone know what chronic pain sufferers go through unless they walk a minute in our shoes? Feel free to reach out to me anytime.
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It’s so nice to know that I am not alone! I think the hardest thing for me right now, is that no one seems to be there for ME when I need them. I know everyone has their own problems and stresses in life….but at the same time, GEE Thanks. It does sound like we have so much in common…. Thank you for your offer. I’m here for you also! 🙂