Words of advice needed
AnonymousJune 23, 2008 at 10:56 pm
Hi Everyone, I need some advice or some ideas on ways to cope with another problem that came up.
Saturday night my hubby broke his foot. Wednesday he was supposed to start a new truck driving job, well now that is put on hold for at least a month. This sounds really self centered, and I apologize for asking, but I just can’t think straight enough to figure even the easiest things out right now. My problem lays in caring for my hubby, kids and myself while trying to get through a flare up. I am also trying to keep up with my parents and their health issues and my in laws health issues and lending a hand to my little brother while he is having health issues as well. How does one do it when I’m in need of help as well? I am totally exhausted, which is not helping my flare up. Everytime I lay down someone either calls for something they need, hubby needs something, or my kids need something. I don’t like to deny anybody what they need, but I’m at the point of just cracking and losing it. Oh, and we are also dealing with a major problem with my older brothers’ wife–she is having mental issues and is not allowing my brother to have contact with his family.
Stress level is extremely high and I find it really hard to take care of myself-which I know is what I have to do-but just can’t. I don’t have energy to do daily things for myself, let alone anybody else that I have to do it for. What should be my priority? What would you do?
Thanks for any suggestions and for letting me vent-I needed that!:)
AnonymousJune 23, 2008 at 11:28 pm
It really sounds like you are in a position that we have been in ever since I got sick. When I was basically bedridden 6 years ago, my husband’s stepfather died (he is an only child) & we find out that his mother has pretty advanced dementia. That was 5 1/2 years ago & we managed to keep her in an apt. all of this time by doing virtually everything for her. Just a week ago we finally moved her into an Assisted Living home & now her side of the family is not speaking to us. Talk about stress! If one of them would spend just one hour with her one on one, they would realize that there is just nothing to work with. We have spent the past 10 days sorting & vacating her apt. which has been exhausting for both my husband & me.
We have also been dealing with a son who got a DUI on New Year’s Eve & lost his license for a whole year (his 2006 snowmobile was also confiscated by the state.) He has to take care of all of the IT issues for 13 clinics in our area, so guess who has been driving him? My husband, of course.
He is also currently on an electronic monitor until the 4th of July. My husband is sooo stressed out. My son also decided this was a great time to gut his bathroom, only problem is that he has no home improvement skills. Guess who is over there helping him out? Our other son is in a wheelchair & needs to be taken to the grocery store & is also having major car problems. Actually, he has always been the least of our problems most of his life.
I am also the primary support for my mother who is 83 & lives just 4 blocks away, still in her home. She decided to quit driving over a year ago, so guess who runs her to town for all of her doctor appt. & shopping? That would be me… We also drove to our daughter’s home June 5th & babysat our one year old grandson for 4 days so they could go to Las Vegas. Oh, & last Friday we had to put our cat of 15 years down; never dreamed it would be this hard.
I am not trying to vent, but I certainly know the exhaustion you are feeling, as well as feeling overwhelmed by your situation. My husband has had two back surgeries in 2005 & 2006 & almost died of appendicitis last year. Guess who was his primary caregiver for 9 months when the first surgery didn’t work? It was really a pathetic situation! I guess what I have learned is that in order to function, I need to get a lot of sleep & it does help a lot. Also, in hindsight, we should really ask others for help more often, even if we have to search outside of our home. Our housekeeper has been a godsend, as she not only cleaned for us, but also my mother-in-law & my son in a wheelchair.
I so sympathize with you. Right now I think I will go take a pill to help me get to sleep & try to get the 10-12 hours that I need… Best of luck & learn to say no when you hit the brick wall (or before that.)
AnonymousJune 23, 2008 at 11:56 pm
Cheryl, I feel so helpless hearing what you have to go through. You’ve always been so compassionate and such a support always ready to offer suggestions. Have you considered getting Meals On Wheels until you get through the worst of it? We done that for a while when Carol broke her hand earlier this year and couldn’t cook for us. It really was a godsend. Maybe your county office offers some respite care to help you through this. They paid us some money so we could get a neighborhood teenager to come over and help out.
Well, all I can do right now is to send some good vibes back to you.
AnonymousJune 24, 2008 at 12:10 am
If I go back in my memory, I can relate to what you’re saying, I just wish I had answers too. When my husband was dying from cancer (he was being cared for at home), I had hospice help coming in, plus family and you do feel like you’re being selfish, but I’d cry inside myself that I need help too. And taking care of and helping my mother the last five years, there was very little help from family, I’d wear myself out trying to do my best even though I’m in a wheelchair.
I think most of us are going to tell you “you’ve” got to be the one to take care of yourself. Hubby can get a walking cast and get up and take care of himself. I broke my foot twice and I took care of myself. Don’t let yourself feel guilty and give yourself some time alone so that you can take a nap or just sit at the computer to talk to us. If you can afford it, hire someone from a homecare agency to help out.
When things are under control and calmer for you, come to Florida and visit me in my new home. How about the winter, when snow is on ground.
AnonymousJune 24, 2008 at 12:28 am
It sounds like you have your hands full! Try to make use of anyone that can help. If you have friends that can do the shopping or lend a hand with chores/meals etc. Call in some help. You need to look after yourself.
I always remember the saying they tell you on planes…put your own oxygen mask on first before assisting others!
If you don’t look after you then you can’t help the others.
Have a family meeting and try to figure out who can help.
Not sure how old your kids are but I am sure they can help with tasks to allow you to rest.
Go snuggle up to your hubby, order in dinner and take some down time!
Rhonda from Canada
AnonymousJune 24, 2008 at 12:36 am
The only advise I can give you is to take one day at a time. Any person can only do so much. You can not be all things to all people. You can only do so much each day exactly sane as any other individual. Prioritize what those things absolutely have to be done today based on your ability and let God take care of the rest.
AnonymousJune 24, 2008 at 2:43 am
I didnt read through all the posts, so forgive me if you’ve heard this a bunch of times already. I’ll try to stay away from the obvious things that others may have said.
These are things that have helped me get through 3 years of hell (big family = lots of problems, lots of drama, lots of help to be given)…
1. Do you have a house phone and a cell phone? If so, when you are tired or busy, [B]turn off the house phone and leave only your cell phone on[/B]. Anyone who would need to contact you in an emergency would already have your cell phone number, right? Warn everyone ahead of time that you will do horrible things to them if they dare call your cell phone just because they’re bored:D
2. Or you could tell family, “Hey, house phone is off every day from ________ o’clock until _________o’clock. If the issue can’t wait until i turn my house phone back on, then call my cell, but only if it is urgent.
3. My family is full of drama, especially my mom (she has attempted suicide countless times, gets evicted all the time, is an alcoholic, has drug addicted and abusive boyfriends, etc.) and now my little sister is the same way. Trying to solve all of their problems for them only hurt my family, and enabled them to remain unhealthy. The lesson i learned – You can feel sorry for other people and maybe you can help them out (only if they are absolutely unable to help themselves), but [B]never, ever, ever allow someone else’s problem turn into your own.[/B]
4. With my experience as a nurse on an orthopedic surgical floor, your husband should be able to do quite a bit for himself, unless there is something unusual about his fracture or overall health. Did someone from physical therapy teach him how to use any kind of assistive device? Do stairs? Exercise? He needs to be moving around to maintain his strength in his good leg, develop it in his hurt leg, and to prevent blood clots, pneumonia, etc. He should be up and around atleast every couple hours unless his doc has instructed him otherwise. When sitting, his leg should be elevated to reduce swelling and pain (those things will cause him to be less independent). Also, have him use a rolled towel to support his leg in a comfortable position, so his leg can actually rest when he is resting. when we sit, we normally allow our legs to roll out to the side, like toes pointing outward, and that is not ideal for him. It puts pressure in all the wrong places. He needs to support his leg so that his toes point straight up. That will greatly decrease pain (unless doc says otherwise), and that in turn will increase his independence.
5. Sometimes i think i can’t do things for myself, but my hubby leaves me no choice. Guess what? I do it. I want to hurt him at first, and then when i finally accomplish whatever the task, im so amazed and happy with myself that i don’t want to knock his head off anymore:D Maybe that tough-love thing will work for your loved ones?
6. Tell your hubby, “I am doing ____ right now, and then after that i need to rest. So, if you need anything, you better speak up now because im doing nothing until _________o’clock”. And mean it!
7. Tell whoever might wake you up to take a stupid phone call that they will be dealing with whatever the person called for, unless it is very urgent. They will learn really fast that you do way more than they realize.
8. To make life easier on those yucky days, we have a stash of disposable dishes and the healthiest frozen dinners we can find. This way, the kids can feed themselves and toss the mess and i dont have to feel terribly guilty because they are still eating a somewhat healthy meal. There are lots of meals that come frozen in a bag, too, that are good for you and only take one pan and very little time.
9. I definitely agree with the family meeting. When our family was caring for a family member who was dying of cancer, we made a list of names, phone numbers, work hours, days off, possible times they could help out, etc. The list stayed on the fridge where everyone could see it. When company came over, they’d sign up to do certain things at certain times, without us even having to ask.
10. When im feeling good enough to cook, i make a lot of extra food and stick it in the fridge, that way i dont have to worry about cooking for a couple days. The peace of mind that comes with saying, “There’s goulash in the fridge” is soooo nice when i feel sick”.
REalized that im writing a novel AGAIN! Sorry! I’ll stop here. Good luck and hollar if you need anything!
AnonymousJune 24, 2008 at 3:10 am
Which is better – being the energizer Bunny running around catering to your family until you drop from exhaustion and start screaming at them? OOOORRRRR finding a way to say to your husband and kids “I need you all to help each other right now, I’m taking a nap so I can cook a nice dinner for you later.” I feel for you, I tend to be one of those people too who just does everything for everyone and never asks or expects anyone to help out. I don’t know how old your kids are but I can clearly remember when my brother and I were just starting elementary school my mother had major surgery and was off her feet for six weeks. I remember even at that age having to clean up the kitchen by ourselves, make peanut butter sandwiches at lunch, bring her stuff in bed and so on. I remember my Mom and Dad explaining to us that Mom needed to rest a lot to get better and we felt important by doing things on our own. As for your husband, I don’t know what kind of fracture he had in his foot but when I broke my foot I walked around on it for three days before I consented to get it x-rayed and it never once stopped me from walking at all even when my dogs rebroke it a few days later and I had to have it reset and put in a cast. I know I have a high tolerace for pain but I also know “use it or lose it.” It’s hard to go from doing everything for people to increasing their independance. They have a tendancy to think you don’t care about them anymore when you start backing off on catering to their needs when in fact what you are striving for is a healthy balance in your family. And in fact, if you keep going the way you are going you might just drive yourself into a relapse and then where would you be?
Stick a cooler with sodas next to your hubby on the couch, fix snacks for your kids ahead of time and put them next to your husband on the couch – leave them alone for two to three hours – take a hot bath, take a long nap, forget for a moment that you know the word “Mooooooooommmmmmmm” and you never heard “I need.”
AnonymousJune 24, 2008 at 10:30 am
I think everyone here has given you all the advice you need and there seems to be one common thread….”Take care of the caregiver.” Take care of yourself first. You are of no value to anyone including yourself, if your flare up continues to get worse. I always think it is better to do a little bit as we can manage over the long haul than to try to do alot and then reach a point where we can no longer do anything.
Your plate is full. Ask for help. Hard to do when you want to be there and support others but in the long run, you will be glad you did.
That being said. I am sending you warm hugs and comforting thoughts as you work to get through this tough time.
AnonymousJune 24, 2008 at 11:48 am
[FONT=Georgia]Cheryl like Jan said take care of yourself, take it from someone who knows. I ignored pain & my health when I was taking care of Debra. I put her first over everything else, ask for help as you are in a very high stress situation. [/FONT]
[FONT=Georgia]The angels are for you Cheryl, Just Remember This I’m Pulling For You![/FONT]
AnonymousJune 24, 2008 at 12:50 pm
I’m so sorry all this is happening to you and the family.
My only advise, do you have the money to hire someone? I’m not sure if you addressed that issue.
Also, even though your husband can’t run around right now, can you give him some things to do while he’s sitting down. It might not be things you need done right now but it could be organizing your recipes, organizing and putting photos in albums or boxes, etc. He could also write friends and family that you haven’t written in years.
I’m sorry I still have not sent Dell’s photo. It’s in an envelope waiting to go out.
AnonymousJune 24, 2008 at 12:53 pm
I’m sorry about everything that is going on for you right now. That is a lot to handle by yourself. Do you attend a churhc? I’m sure that there are a number of churches around you that would jump at the chance to help out. I know the LDS church for sure; bringing dinner, taking the kids for awhile or even driving people around if they need to. That has always been a great place for me to get help with things when needed. Hang in there!
AnonymousJune 24, 2008 at 11:16 pm
Thanks Everybody!!!! You All have helped more than I can say. I really appreciate All the advice.
I was able to feed my son(9yr old), visit my parents, eat and have some me time all at the same time tonight. Sitting on my parents front porch swing and enjoying a magazine never felt soo nice.
I agree with you all who know what its like with a broken foot–I never had a cast or used my crutches when I broke mine 3 times in the last 3 yrs, I don’t understand why my hubby is acting like his hands are broken too. My daughter is 15 and son is 9yrs old, they can get their own breakfasts and lunches but I like to make sure they have a good dinner, they are the least of my problems, thank goodness. They are Great Kids!
Paying for help is out of the question, I support all of us with my disability check-less than 700 a month, at least until next month, so that limits me in alot of ways. Family members are either working or are too far away to help or are in poor health.
Again Thanks for Your Help, I will make sure I think about my needs as well. Hugs!!:)
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