Don’t wear yourself out as I did…I should have paid attention to the self-care talk advice more seriously, but how can you think of yourself when others need you so much? From the start, I was up at 4:00 AM on my journey in 2018 and in bed well after 9:00 PM. Eventually, there was too much going on in my life to think about myself. I was away from my husband, my home, and my life. My parents needed me and I chose to help.
Dad’s hours dictated my alertness. Mom slept most of the night but was up every morning with Dad. Before I came, he would sit her at the table with her banana and morning pill, and paper. She would sit at the table reading until he finished his column in the computer room. He wrote for two hours every morning like clockwork.
No Time for Self-Care
When Dad finished his column they would go back to bed until 8:00 in the morning. He would have fixed breakfast the night before. Cereal bowls ready, banana for him, raisin bread, and coffee. Mom stopped drinking coffee and had water instead.
Self-Care during Golf
Dad continued to play golf until 2021. He played at the local golf course 3 times a week, on “cereal” days, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Dad played nine holes, mostly by himself, and occasionally with a friend on Fridays. I drove. Mom and I sat in the clubhouse, but before I arrived to care for her, she would sit with a magazine and drink iced coffee. I kept her company and helped her more and more as the years passed.
Self-Care During Nap Time
My time for myself came during nap time. After their morning outings, they took a nap, and on non-golf days, they watched a movie in the TV room (den). At those times, I could put my feet up and wait. Frequently, those minutes were my time for errands and a little rest. Mom and Dad napped for less than half an hour, but they napped frequently during the day.
Escalation of Care
The trouble with my health began 2 years later after Dad broke his hip. Now, I was caring for two and it was more difficult. It was after Dad broke his hip on January 4, 2020, when I started to search for help and finally found a chatroom for caregivers. I am ever so grateful for that and we have been close ever since although we had never met.
Caregiving is a difficult journey
In 2020 caregiving took its toll on my body. My mental health was affected by the pandemic and a house fire within the same year was too much for one person. Luckily I had my brother there. He was unemployed at the time and could help but was not interested in “caregiving”. His muscles came in handy and he took over most of Dad’s chores. My mental health was just as important as my physical well-being. The chat was my ME TIME.
Come join us. We have been where you are. All of us have shared experiences at one point or another. We can definitely support you through your journey. We laugh together, mourn together, and share our daily lives as well as give advice and support, and sometimes we just need time to vent. Connect with us.
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