Author Topic: My Continuing Care Gver Experience  (Read 1562 times)

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Offline luise.volta

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My Continuing Care Gver Experience
« on: July 02, 2010, 08:33:27 PM »
Hi,

When I disappear from WWU for a while it is about having no energy reserves. Wednesday, I had an ingrown toenail dug out which I rate right up there with having minor surgery at home without an anesthetic. I have a very low pain threshold...to boot. How that relates to my long term, care giver burn-out is that when I use an increased amount of energy, I no longer have anything to fall back on. So, down I go.

I have been Val's care giver for the last 11 years. It started when he was no longer able to drive or write checks and handle finances. Taking those things over was easy. However, over the years, there has been an endless process of taking over more and more. You add just one more thing and you think the impact is minimal.

What happens is there is a point of no return when you have done too much for too long...24/7...and you break. That happened to me after I fractured the base of my right tibia in November. I was confident I could still be Val's care giver from my wheel chair. I was out of the wheel chair by February be there wasn't enough left of me to scrape up off the driveway (one of my mom's sayings.) I was too tired to carry on a conversation and all I could do was cry...(and I'm not a crier.) So, Val was placed in the nursing facility here in our retirement center and I shifted gears to going over to see him twice a day...and resting, resting, resting. I eat a balance diet and take supplements but it's like I've lost my bone marrow or something. I can't describe it.

In the ten years I have lived here, I have seen at least a dozen care givers die before their loved ones because by the time they put them in nursing, the care giver was too far gone to be able to recover. Still, when everyone could see it was happening to me, I couldn't see it and insisted that I was coping. I was but the cost was enormous. Eventually, my care giver shelf-life just ground to a halt.

So, anything extra that happens these days, whether it is wonderful like Kirk arriving or horrible like my infected toe nail being excised...I have nothing to fall back on...and I fall. When you miss me, just know that it's a process and I am slowly healing. What cheers me is that I am down for shorter and shorter periods of time. I rise from the ashes much sooner than I did at first.

Maybe I should have taken the user name of "Phoenix." Sending gratitude and love...

Thank you for you interest, concern, love and support...always! :-*
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

Postscript

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Re: My Continuing Care Gver Experience
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2010, 08:42:42 PM »
Luise that sounds positively ugly, I can't say I have ever experienced having an ingrown toenail let alone one being dug out but you have my deepest sympathy.  I am currently on holidays (been working very hard lately with little or no time to post as I applying for a higher position and getting performance appraisals done for my staff) so I will keep an eye on things and post welcomes etc if it helps you out :)

Rest and recuperate, we miss you and we understand

Hugs
« Last Edit: July 02, 2010, 09:09:31 PM by Postscript »

Teiph

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Re: My Continuing Care Gver Experience
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2010, 09:05:51 PM »
Luise
Very nice to meet you! Thank you for a much needed site.  So sorry to hear about your toe. Ouch. My mom (deceased) used to suffer from them too! Oh poor woman. Unfortunately she passed those toe problems on to me too!  After 40 years of doing surgery myself, I decided I would let them grow out and see what happens! I did have to help them grow straight and not dig under the sides, but thank God they are no longer a problem.  They do get quite long though, my son calls them talons. lol
But thats ok, because they dont hurt anymore.  Good luck with your toes and keep taking those vitamins and getting good rest!

Offline luise.volta

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Re: My Continuing Care Gver Experience
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2010, 09:50:35 PM »
Good to hear from you Postscript and I have a good feeling about your "upward mobility."  >:(

Welcome Teiph. thanks and glad to have yo aboard.
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

BellaTerra66

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Re: My Continuing Care Gver Experience
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2010, 03:10:18 AM »
Good to know that you are rising out of the ashes, Luise. 

Being a caregiver is difficult enough.  When we are older, it's extremely difficult.  Is there, by chance, a 'support group' at your living facility for caregivers? 

You said something on the another thread about what can be said about death.  When death is so 'up close and personal', I am not sure anything can be said.  It's the arms of friends and loved ones around us which say the most.

But when I was a little girl, I saw a movie which made an impact on me for the rest of my life.  The movie was/is "The Story of Peter Marshal" (who was Catherine Marshal's first husband and who was the first immigrant chaplain to The US Senate).  The movie is based on the story of his life, a book written by Catherine Marshal.  At one point he gives a talk to Westpoint graduates just hours before the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  He talks about death, from a Christian viewpoint, and the passage goes like this (and trust me, it loses something in the translation).  In fact, Luise, I have the DVD, and if you send me your address privately, I'll send you the movie.  It is a wonderful movie, despite the fact that it is decades old.

A small child asked his mother, “What is it like to die?  Does it hurt?”

The mother answered:

Remember when you were a little boy – you would play so hard all day you will fall that when night came you were too tired to even undress and you would fall into my bed and fall asleep.  In the morning, much to your surprise, when you woke up you were in your own room and in your own bed.  You were there because someone loved you and had taken care of you.  Your loving father, with big and strong arms, had come and carried you to your own room.  And that’s what it is like to die:  being carried lovingly from one room into the other.

From – “The Story of Peter Marshall”

This is only a metaphor, of course.  But I can tell you from personal experience -- I was 18 when I was in a horrible car accident and almost died.  I didn't have a Near Death Experience, not the way other people have described.  No white light, no tunnel, no relatives.  But at one point, all the pain disappeared and I felt loved and I felt so peaceful.  It turned into a struggle not to let go and just die. But, from that movie and that one experience, I have lived my whole life not being afraid of death. 

Val is going to be just fine, and I think, from your posts, that you will be all right too.  You will never stop missing him, but you will be all right.

You and Val are in our thoughts and prayers.

Bella

Offline luise.volta

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Re: My Continuing Care Gver Experience
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2010, 10:10:08 AM »
What a lovely post. Thank you. I remember Peter Marchall, of course, since I was married and a mother by the time he passed in 1949. And I would love to have the DVD. :) Luise Volta, 20502 Marine Dr., #g-4, Stanwood, WA 98292

By the time you get to be my age, death is an old friend. Still when you see him coming up your driveway...I suppose it's normal to want to pretend that you're not home.  :-\
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

BellaTerra66

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Re: My Continuing Care Gver Experience
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2010, 11:01:16 AM »
Death was always coming up the driveway.  From the day we were born.  We spend our whole lives pretending that it isn't happening.

We've been living on borrowed time since we were 50.   Absolutely since we were 65.  Have you ever noticed that when the news reports that there are X amount of people in The US over the age of 65 or 75 or 85, the news NEVER mentions how many people what percentage of US citizens of all ages who have died in just the past year.  They don't mention the quality of life of those of us older ones who are still alive.  And what I find even more odd is that I'm a pretty good researcher and I can't find those stats.

Those of us who have lived to be 60 and over, and are in good health -- and you seem to be in good health -- are most fortunate.  And Val has had an especially good life the last couple of decades, thanks to you.

I'll send the dvd as soon as I can.  I don't get out everyday these days.  But the movie should go out within the next week.

Hang in there and let us know how you are doing, when you can.




Offline luise.volta

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Re: My Continuing Care Gver Experience
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2010, 02:33:34 PM »
Well put. I need to remind myself that joy is also always coming up the driveway...and laughter...and love!  ;D
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

Offline Nana

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Re: My Continuing Care Gver Experience
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2010, 02:00:37 AM »
We all miss your wise posts.    We just wanted to know that you were not sick.  Other ladies were commenting that maybe your son had arrived.   

Welcome back lol (to your site)

Hope you are feeling better.
Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove:
Shakespeare

Offline luise.volta

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Re: My Continuing Care Gver Experience
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2010, 10:57:27 AM »
Thanks so much. I responded about my disappearance in my post about care giver burn-out...because that is what takes me down if I use up my very limited energy reserves.

And yes, Kirk arrived on Wed. and his here for THREE MONTHS! Sandy will arrive next week. She stayed behind to rent their house in Kapaa. Their little summer home is about seven miles from here and we see each other often!  ;D
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

Offline Pooh

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Re: My Continuing Care Gver Experience
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2010, 01:51:36 PM »
All I have to say is when death decides to come up my driveway.....I plan on making him chase me around the house for a while just for spite! ;D

Hang in there Luise.  I was full of hope for you when you said your days of being down are getting shorter.  That to me says some of your strength is returning, even if it doesn't feel like it for you right now.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline luise.volta

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Re: My Continuing Care Gver Experience
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2010, 02:50:21 PM »
I was only down on Thursday and yet "up" doesn't look too impressive. I took the dog for a walk today and at our turnaround, which is about 1/2 a block, he wanted to keep on going, so we went to the road, which is about a block. I was so weak, I had to stop and sit down on a bench twice. I suppose it's going to be a long road back but I can still see improvement. Thanks for caring.  :)
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

BellaTerra66

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Re: My Continuing Care Gver Experience
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2010, 06:43:02 PM »
Luise, when was the last time you had your B12 and Vit D checked?  I know you know this but I'm not sure everyone else does, so:  they are blood tests, done by a lab, and they are very inexpensive.

I have NO doubts you are recovering and that you are worn out from caring for and worrying about Val.  I also realize you are over 80 years old.  But after 60-65 years of age, we don't absorb B12 very well at all from our food, so we need to take supplements (B12 nuggets) or we need periodic injections.  At least most of us do.

In fact, when was the last time Val had his B12 level checked?  Low B12 (under 500) can cause psychosis and/or mimic dementia, among other things, and we don't get the amount we need from a daily multivitamin either.

B12 injections and Vit D3 supplements cleared up my fatigue and my 'weepiness'.  I have the B12 injections only every 3-4 months now and take D3 everyday.

My neighbors across the street -- the doctors thought his mother had dementia, and a nurse at her nursing home (the nurse was a friend of mine) looked at the mother's chart, and, sure enough, she had not had a B12 blood test.  The family wouldn't listen to me, but one of the daughters was a CNA and she finally came around.  Mother had her B12 level checked -- it was practically 0, and a series of B12 shots cleared up her 'dementia'.

Just some thoughts.  I realize this is none of my business, but this comes out of my caring.

Bella


Offline luise.volta

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Re: My Continuing Care Gver Experience
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2010, 08:26:09 PM »
What a sweetie you are. Our internist watches that. We both take sublingual B 12 daily and also Vite D-3.  8)
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

BellaTerra66

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Re: My Continuing Care Gver Experience
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2010, 03:21:31 AM »
Well, it was worth the try.   :)  I'm so glad you have such a good internist.  Most MDs are not watching this with their older patients.  At least, medical care here in NM is not very good. 

I wish we had some magical wand that would make you and Val all very well again. 

Luise, I lost your address,  :-[  and I know it's somewhere on this board.   I'm going to try to find it, but, if I don't, would you please state it again?  Thanks.

Bella