The Life of a Caregiver
the day is long but the night is longer still
Being a caregiver is not for lightweights that is for sure. Some people think it is easy just making decisions. Wrong oh how wrong you are my friend. It is so much more. I never knew what it was to be a parent but I think a caregiver is on the same lines. My life was changed oh so very much when the disease of Alzheimer's came into my life.
My father went from being a strong man who could do anything to not knowing how to change the channel on the television. Then it came to not knowing how to turn on the television. He couldn't fix my car anymore. He couldn't cook for himself at all. The day was long but the night was longer still.
I had to make sure he didn't wander away and get lost. He didn't like having the rules changed on him to the fact I needed to know where he was all the time. I didn't sleep well because he would get up at night and open the door and I was scared he would wander off. He would fall if he went very far without his walker but he said he didn't need it. The day was long but the night was longer still.
I knew what his advance directive said he wanted for health care in case he couldn't make decisions for himself. He would bleed for no apparent reason and with no warning. Was I breaking his directive if he bleeds and I had them give him blood? He wanted no emergency measures to keep him alive. Was I wrong to have him in the hospital? The day was long but the night was longer still.
He ended up in the hospital due to problems with his meds. The doctor told me I had to make the decision to put him on a blood thinner or have my dad blow a clot. Excuse me doctor but if I put him on a blood thinner he can fall and maybe bleed to death or put him on a blood thinner so he doesn't throw a blood clot. Excuse me, doctor, you make the call. Did I get him ready for a home before the doctor said it was necessary? Who did I ask? The day was long but the night was longer still.
Dad had a stroke and was in the hospital. The phone was my constant companion because I had to be near the telephone 24/7 to make a decision about dad's life. I had a friend who tried to be around me during the day. I tried to explain that anything with dad happened at night. The day was long but the night was longer still.
Dad was put into a home. He couldn't talk very good and he couldn't walk. I want to think about what do I do as I have never lived on my own. I need to think of only my father. He is my primary reason for being alive right now. Dad has the home call he wants to come home. How do I tell him he has to stay there for a while? The days are long but the night is longer still.
I get a call from the home that they need to send dad to another hospital because he is being inappropriate with the females. No explanation as to why or what is going on. I have to call my friend because I didn't have a decent car because the hospital was in another town. How does one make a decision if this against his advance directive? The days are long but the nights are getting longer still.
I need to make decisions for all manners of things in his life. Do I do this or do I not? Then I get sick with a sinus infection and have to take five minutes for me. How do I take care of me when I need to be where dad's caregiver professionals can get ahold of me. My friend tells me that I need to take care of myself because if I get sick I can't be there for him The days are long but the nights are oh so long.
I finally sit my friend down and tell her how I feel. She had wondered how long it would take me to admit I needed help. When I got my sinus infection fixed the doctor told me I needed to take care of my mental health as well. That was when I went into counseling because someone finally understood that the days were long but oh how the nights were longer yet.