When the Family Caregiver Becomes Ill
You must do things you think you cannot do. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
I love that quote from Eleanor Roosevelt; I wonder if she had family caregivers in mind when she spoke those lovely words? Family caregivers often find themselves in impossible positions balancing work, life along with caregiving responsibilities. Sometimes our caregiving cape does wear out, we are only human, even if sometimes we think that we’re not! This past week, my caregiving cape took its turn on the sidelines as I became the caree. Stricken with strep throat, I was down and out for the count. I’ve been blessed throughout my life with very few health calamities, but this illness through both of us for the loop.
My first concern this week was for ‘The Little One’ as we both know that strep throat can be highly contagious. We took every precaution we could possibility think of while staying as far apart from each other was we could. One of his great lines this week was, “If I end up getting what you have, just drop me off at the hospital!” I could see the concern in his eyes! Even when I was ‘down and out’ my thoughts were always with him. Then TLO finally said, ‘When are you going to take better care of yourself!’ Not being the one who gets sick, his comments hit me square in the eye.
When one becomes concerned about everything else but one’s self, one tends to get ill, physically, mentally, spiritually. It’s that good approach to holistic health that we all strive for in our busy caregiving day, but can be so elusive when we get lost. I know, I’ve been there! While I’ve taken the steps to deal with my weight gain (14 pounds eliminated!) I recognize after this past week that now it is time for me to embrace a holistic approach to good health and spirituality which is comprehensive of my needs. This past week has been a great wake-up call for me. To ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ means to embrace all components in life, not just a select few.
As family caregivers, we often plan doctors appointments, transportation, meals, you name is, we plan it. But I have to wonder, do we have a plan for when we get sick? One of the ‘TLO’s’ concerns this week was simply, What happens to me if you get sick? Having a plan in place (and a back up plan to the first one, too!) is imperative to obtaining a piece of that holistic approach to good health and spirituality. Many friends will tell you when you discuss a plan, “Don’t worry, call me at a moments notice and I will be there.” However, a plan that is not written down on a piece of paper, then confirmed by all participants, is worthless.
My plan this weekend is to make sure that all our plans are in place so that both of us can rest assured when I am not in service. I would be interested to know what plans you have in place to help deal with the onset of illness when you’re a family caregiver?
You see…We Might Have Cancer, But Cancer Does Not Have Us!
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