As a caregiver to a mom with vascular dementia I have come to the realization that, over the years, I have become sort of numb and unexcitable during an emergency. I wonder if that’s a bad thing. It seemed to work for Spock.
I hadn’t thought about it really until mom’s last ER visit. The EMT asked me if I was a nurse. I asked him why and he said because I told him all of the clinical terms for what had led up to my mom needing an ambulance that day. Instead of telling him she fainted, I said it was vasovagal syncope. He also said I was so calm and had the meds ready for the ambulance and wasn’t frantic like most people. I’ve been a part of this caregiving thing since my grandparents were alive so I think sometimes I’m so used to caregiving and experiencing emergencies it doesn’t phase me anymore.
To me it was a no brainer because she had this happen at least five times before. Her triggers for her vasovagal syncope are large crowds, too much excitement and decision making. Every time this happens we have either been out at a restaurant, a family dinner or a mall and upon getting up from either the table or the bathroom she faints. These places and events prove to be too much for her and she has a attack and loses consciousness. At first I thought she was having TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) but I have come to know the difference. If she has been sitting a long time and gets up suddenly this happens.
The scary part is right before she faints she becomes really cold, can’t talk, drools and it does seem to mimic a stroke. Bad thing for me is it takes me back to when I was 19 and my grandpa had a stroke at the dinner table. He lived a few years after that event but it was a scary experience at the time. Some attacks are worse than others and if it’s bad enough I do call an ambulance.
This year I have not taken on so much. When relatives want me to do something like babysit or drive them somewhere, I tell them I take care of mom and that’s my job right now. I really want to say in my Bones from Star Trek voice, “Damn it, Jim, I’m a caregiver not a therapist or babysitter!” I can’t add on anymore stress. My husband and I used to do way too much for people which lead to our own health issues.
Some of my relatives think I should get excited and worry like them, I guess, when they have a minor crisis. I really am not concerned when they have a babysitting issue or their boyfriend left them for the 10th time. I just listen, don’t offer to babysit anymore and hope they “Live Long and Prosper”.
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