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02/04/2009 05:00 AM

Introduce Yourself...:-)!

Bkwrm398
Bkwrm398  
Posts: 993
Senior Member
I'm an Advocate

Hi Everyone,

How about we introduce (or re-introduce) ourselves?

Let us know where you are NOW in your caregiving journey. A sample list of questions to answer could include:

1) who do you provide care for?

2) what medical issues are your loved one dealing with?

3) do you have someone to share the caregiving responsibilities with you..or, are you going it alone?

4) how has becoming a caregiver affected your life?

5) what is your largest caregiving challenge?

I look forward to hearing from each of you...I know we can create our own informative, encouraging, "safe place to vent"...support group!!!

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02/07/2009 12:40 PM
sharone
sharone  
Posts: 3449
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Just what I need, bkwrm! A place to vent. Forgive me for dumping it all at once, I've thought about joining this group before but haven't done it until now when the stress is so SO SO GREAT I could explode!

I am the sandwich generation. My son, fortunately, is a pretty put together 16 year old, kind-hearted but, his father died almost 4 years ago so he can get a little overwhelmed pretty easily w/life.

My mother lives nearby. She was diagnosed w/macular degeneration almost 10 years ago and I've been helping her increasingly over the years. Fortunately there are some great resources in the area we've tapped into so she is mobile and independent EXCEPT when she's not. Those are the times that her health takes a dive and ultimately she ends up in the hospital for a while. What really bugs me is that the time prior to her hospitalization and after, I am the one who is 'stuck' with her care. My two sisters show up at the hospital. I can always bet that they will be there to talk w/drs and get diagnosis (?) but it's as tho they disappear before and after. My mom has needed so much help this week that I finally blew. I am a totally pisssed off, raging lunatic. Well, not totally anymore.

The problem is that they never come over to really SEE what my mother needs or what I am already providing for her. They just sort of sweep in over me and act as tho they are the lifesavers even tho I'm the one who's been on the scene for well, years!

This is terrible. It IS that my ego is hurt. It is that my feelings are hurt. It is that I feel disrespected and well, like Cinderella. I do all this care for her and I feel taken for granted. My mom really appreciates it when my sisters come through but she never really tells anyone what I do for her. So, I feel as tho she doesn't value it and neither do they.

The problem is that I am not a wallflower. I am a fighter. So, when I feel pushed around, I voice it and it ain't pretty.

Alright. I guess I'm pretty spent. I have a few very good friends who are very helpful but, of course, they can only do so much. My oldest sister told me that it's time we should all talk. I know it is. My mom needs some coordination. But, I do feel very angry still because I've been doing this for so long on my own and now I don't think I want to work with them. I don't even know whether I like them anymore.

Thanks for being around for dumping. Isn't MDJ great?


02/07/2009 10:31 PM
Bkwrm398
Bkwrm398  
Posts: 993
Senior Member
I'm an Advocate

Hi Sharone (*waving wildly*),

I am so very glad that you decided to jump in all at once!! I'm glad that you're hereSmile.

"Sandwich Generation" is a very appropriate name, don't you think?? We have the "bread"...made of our child/ren on one side and the "bread"...made of our parent(s) on the other side and we make up the filling. Some days I have felt like a pretty solid filling, like maybe a philly steak....and other days I've felt like I'm nothing more than a sad little piece of bolognaSmile.

I can sympathize with the frustration that you are describing in relation to your sisters. It took a while, but I finally got to the point where I realized I couldn't "make" anyone share with the caregiving responsibilities. My great-uncle had dementia and was often extremely confused. Even so, he could sense the folks who wanted to be here spending time and he could sense the ones who were uncomfortable. If the visitor was uncomfortable he eventually became uncomfortable.

Is it possible that your older sister is finally beginning to realize that she (and your other sister) truly have allowed you to carry the vast majority of the caregiving burden for too long?? If so, this could be the big "breakthrough" that you have been waiting for. You would be able to tell, from how the meeting went, how sincere they were being.

Just something to consider....call the older sister and tell her that you agree, all three of you need to get together. Set a date/time for a point far enough in the future to give you time to pull together some critical information. When the three of you get together you will be able to present them with the facts: how often you are making visits to moms, exactly what you have to do when you visit (balance check book, run errands, fill med keepers, housekeeping duties, provision of meals, transportation to doctor appointments, etc.)

Is it possible that your sisters have no clue about how much you are having to do for mom? Maybe they're just so used to you taking care of everything that they've never thought about it?? I know, I know...she is their mom, too....and they should at least ASK. Some people just don't think that way.

Also explain to them that your son is continuing to experience some rough patches resulting from his dad's death and, with mom's needs beginning to take up more and more of your free time, you're concerned that you're not able to "be there" for your son as often.

The truth is...there's not much about caregiving that's easy. Those of us that seem to be naturally hardwired to be caregivers often have a hard time asking for help. One of my largest pet peeves used to be when people said, "If you need anything, call me." Ummmm,no, don't think so.....call me and ask me what you can do.

Sharone, I hope this helped...even a little bit. Come back as often as you'd like...to dump however much you want!! I look forward to getting to know you betterSmile!


02/08/2009 03:23 AM
sharone
sharone  
Posts: 3449
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Thanks so much, bkwrm. I suppose that yesterday was my breakthrough day. I am in this without the help of my sisters. My older sister's offer was what it has been in the past, a way to control and contain me. She either doesn't get it or doesn't want to be bothered. And she has some deepseated resentment toward my mom. My younger sister loves to feel that she is helpful so she offers general help. 'If you want me to shop for you, just call.' she'll say to my 83 yo mom who really is labored under some health problems. We are past the point of that. I go in and see what she needs and help her make the list/job her memory. You are right, we are hardwired as caregivers. I finally have my life together enough to take on her care. I am fortunate in that my brother and son are supportive of me caring for my mom. My brother is 2000 miles away but sends me money each week to help cover my costs and listens. He really listens when I talk to him and he understands. I think my brother is hardwired, too! My son is actually at a stage where he likes my focus to be other places! LOL I carve out time in my day for us to connect...before school, after school and then in the evening again we often hang out and do some light reading.

I talked w/my mom yesterday after the blowup and she said she understood. My mom's a caregiver type, too. So, it's all going to be what it is. Difficult and most difficult for me and then, most rewarding, too, isn't it?

I'll need this space more and more, bkwrm. Really grateful for MDJ and really appreciate your timely response! Take care.


02/08/2009 09:02 AM
Bkwrm398
Bkwrm398  
Posts: 993
Senior Member
I'm an Advocate

Hey There,

You are definitely welcome here, anytime, so come as often as you need to! It was so good to hear that you have a support system in your brother and your son...that is AWESOME and I'm sending them both a huge "Thank You" hugSmile.

Your son sounds like a really cool kid! (***is "cool" a word that young people even still use today??...LOL***).

I am proud of you Sharone. Thank you for your sincere comittment to making sure your Mom is took care of and has what she needs. Last night I spent some time reading through some of your other posts and it seems as though you have faced some tremendous challenges. Yet, you were able to get to a place (within yourself) that you began to look at/evaluate each challenge for its growth inducing potential. That is amazingSmile!

Pretty sure you know this...but just wanted to mention it anyway: it is not a negative thing, at all, for us to know when we need to vent. I believe it's a safety valve mechanism...for us to be able to release frustrations/anger/disappointments/etc to people who know just where we're coming from...people who won't judge, but will encourage...allowing us to refocus our positive attention toward our loved ones who are depending on us.

I hope you have a wonderful daySmile!


02/08/2009 11:54 AM
sharone
sharone  
Posts: 3449
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Thanks much, bkwrm. I am sure I will visit this spot more frequently over the next few years as things heat up/as my folks' needs increase. Today my mom looks as tho she is getting through the current health concern very quickly. I am pleased and proud. Yes, it appears that my son has taken the tough parts of his experiences and is reworking them favorably. As you noted, I imagine he has learned that from me. Honestly, I think that I always knew that I would be the elder caregiver in the family. I watched my grandfather, whom I loved, die an unhappy death in a nursing home when I was a teen. It stayed with me. I did go through some extremely difficult hurdles in life. I almost wonder whether I always had my eye fixed on maturing to this point, on being put together enough so I could reach out to catch my mother as she declined, my mother who (intentionally or not) was somewhat responsible for creating the tailspin that's been my life.

Some things I'll never be able to understand. All I know is that it gives me a lot of satisfaction to be able to send out a life preserver to someone who essentially neglected me in my childhood. I'll never understand why she was that way. I only know that she is my mother and I only have one opportunity to help her leave this world feeling that she did her best and it ended well.

I don't let her consume my life anymore, trying to please her or neglecting my family in order to put her needs first. And, I am clear-spoken w/her. There are boundaries between she and I, comfortable so that we are now relaxed, but definite boundaries.

Life's hard. But, it's not just hard for me. I keep that in mind.

Really do appreciate the chance to unload, bkwrm. And, really appreciate that you took the time to check me out, too. That says something interesting about you, Hon! I look forward to getting to know you better, too!

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