Sunday, May 30, 2010

Caregiving: When the going gets tough…..

This has been a hard week. Stress at work, working 8-9 hr days, under a new leadership style, stress with the ups and downs of dealing with W's nausea, lack of appetite and low blood counts, the stress of not knowing when “engraphment” will take place, or if it will ever take place. And then, when you have time for yourself, you keep giving… trying to support other family members with their health needs, and trying to cope with the stress of handling the house alone. It takes its toll on a person.

This week has left me weak and exhausted. In attempts to gain some control of my life, I have decided to take life slower and say no to over ambitious plans to clean my house. I was reading a pamphlet I was sent called “Caregiver Guide for Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant” by National Bone Marrow Transplant LINK. It says “Caregivers experience the same, if not more, distress than the survivors themselves and are usually less likely than survivors to get the help they need”. How true this is! I ask myself, “Who has the time?” It’s not like you can check out of everything.

Well,…maybe you can, but this is not an option for me. As one takes on all of this responsibility, including the superhuman emotional strength to try to keep W’s spirits up, no one realizes, including the caregiver, that this awful sick feeling deep inside making one weepy could be “depression”, which is difficult to control and climb out of. Any little thing can make the world so overwhelming to cope with. It’s like falling into a deep empty hole in the ground without a ladder. Perhaps it’s time to go back to the Prozac……..

Can it get any worse? Apparently, it can, but I’m not ready to share that yet. The worst of my nightmares is about to come true. It’s like an episode of the old TV series, West Wing, where President Bartlett, makes up a terrorist scenario to scare his daughter into taking her Secret Service protection seriously and it actually comes true a season later. I predicted a scenario for one of my sons, and I fear if things don’t change drastically, it is likely to come true. The results of making wrong choices. Is it dejavu or premonition?

So I reach into my coping bag, full of “detachment”, “denial”, “anger”, “hysterics”, “lethargy”, “heart-sickness”, “meet a friend”, “going to a movie”, “buy something”, “binge eating”, “prayer”, “isolation”, “courage”, “crying”, “helplessness”, “sleep”, “mutism”, “suffering in silence”, and what do I pull out…….?

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;

Enjoying one moment at a time;

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world

as it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make all things right

if I surrender to His Will;

That I may be reasonably happy in this life

and supremely happy with Him

Forever in the next.


--Reinhold Niebuhr

1 comment:

Adalia Savic said...

Oh, Diana, I am right there with you. You expressed how I have been feeling. It is overwhelming and exhausting. Sometimes I feel as if I cannot go on another day but I do. We do. I wish we lived closer so we could get together and cry, vent and support each other. No one can understand what a caregiver has to deal with unless they have experienced it. Just try and take care of yourself as best as you can. Love and prayers, Aunt Adele