Finding Caregiver Support at Caregiving.com

Tara

Finding Caregiver Support at Caregiving.com

Tara

Grateful for Caregiving.com!

I thought I was going to go crazy today. I was feeling sooo desperate about my situation—and so isolated. Who wants to hear the reality of how difficult it is (It, being, of course, caregiving)? And then, I found this website. What a gift.

I was looking up the definitions of the words caregiving and caretaking. It seems like everyone uses them interchangeably—is there a difference? Anyway, if you type 'caregiving' in the Yahoo! browser, this wonderful website comes up first: www.caregiving.com.

And, what wonderful articles! Oh, how I could relate. Oh, how wonderful it is to know there are other people experiencing the same thing as me. Could it be? Could it be that I may actually be able to cope?

About Me

So—HELLO everybody! My name is Tara and I think being able to blog is the best thing ever. I have a 'regular' blog—one that talks about all the 'good, happy stuff' that everyone loves to read.

I have often yearned for a forum where I could discuss the REAL feelings I have about caregiving. I know not everyone in my life would want to read it; and few people would understand some of the difficult emotional material I have to communicate. So, this forum seems like a gift from God. Today especially.

So—the highlights: I am 39, married—very happily to the love of my life. My husband and I have the cutest baby in the entire world (we're biased). And, he is also the sweetest, most mellow baby ever. My husband is in law school AND he works full-time. I take care of baby Isaac AND my mother.

(That was the end of the good part)

About Mom

My mother is 63. She is a manic-depressive with schizo-affective features. She smoked so heavily during her lifetime that she contracted severe Emphysema/COPD. She drank heavily for a time, and doctors believe that she brought on optic nerve atrophy with the combination of excessive drinking, malnutrition, and her psyche meds. She is legally blind.

And, incontinent.

And, on continuous oxygen and 15 medications.

And, frail even with a walker.

And, exceptionally dependent and needy. On me.

And, completely self-absorbed.

And, mean, nasty and rude. To everyone—including me.

And she lives with us.

Her descent into this state of being has been years in the making. I feel as though I have been her caregiver for my entire life. "No mom, don't buy me that toy, those shoes, rent is due." "Yes mom, dad is a #$%^&, and your marriage sucked." "Yes mom, you have to check yourself in to the hospital now." "Mom, please don't smoke 4 packs of cigarettes in one day, you're going to get cancer." "Mom, please follow the doctor's recommendations--he says you need to exercise." "Mom, please take your medications."

I am done crying.

I AM EMOTIONALLY FRIED.

Nevertheless, I persevere. She lives with me, my husband, our baby and our 2 dogs. Not because this is easy and what we want, but because we would be bankrupt and she would be homeless otherwise. Maybe that's a slight exaggeration. It's just how it feels.

When I was 30 we 'formalized' the fact that I was her caregiver—not her child. I became legally responsible for all of her financial and medical affairs. I was determined to do this in a way that empowered her and advocated for her wishes. I had watched my grandparents take over for her throughout her multiple hospitalizations. I watched their relationship deteriorate and watched her become more and more dependent on being 'rescued.'

I wanted nothing to do with making things worse, and yet, I knew as my grandparents aged, the responsibility for her care would come to me.

Baby is crying, and doggies are barking...so I will continue in post #2.

Ciao for now!

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