Friday, July 2, 2010

A Caregiver's Thought

Today started off well. My husband seemed to be doing alright. He got up, got dressed, walked downstairs by himself , ate breakfast and was in a good mood. All of the things we usually take for granted. His uncle came over which was great because he is our age so they are like best friends and he lives in another state so it was a special time between them. Paul is very comfortable with him so I left to run some errands. As I was driving to get my husband the slip on shoes he wanted I thought to myself I know I have friends & family who would have done this errand for me as well as gone to the grocery store but... no... I want to do these things. Cancer survivors have to find a new normal after battling for their lives as does anyone with a life threatening illness but ya know what so do those in the middle of that battle and their caregivers (spouses, kids, moms, dads, etc.) and it is so very important that we are able to do it. As I pushed my grocery cart to the car I thought "I don't want anyone else going to the store for me. I want to do it. It is my job. Plus by the time I explain how I shop and what I look for to avoid in things I might as well do it myself. I also want to do our laundry & dishes. I have a routine and I have had it for 3 years now and it is mine. Sure...come mow the lawn that is Paul's job & he can't do it right now and maybe we'll need ya soon for a few hours while I am at work but there are many things cancer can't do and it is important not to let it take control of everyday. That is so extremely hard to do but it is necessary. On my drive to the shoe store & grocery store I was calm and smiling. I felt like all was right. The migraine I have nursed since Friday temporarily left. A caregivers life is crazy, crazy, crazy. We have an advantage because we have each played the patient/caregiver role for each other. When he raises his voice because pain has set in and he needs something he apologizes a few minutes later and I am very aware that it is the pain talking and not Paul. An amazing friend of mine in a similar situation at home told me that a perfect day for her would be spent at home with her husband taking a walk around the backyard, eating together at the dinner table instead of a tray in the bedroom and just doing regular stuff like laundry. I feel ya sister! I want to take one of our long walks in the park by the river so bad but I know I have to wait until things get better. They will get better. I want him to lock up the house at night but I have to do it for now. I want him to drive but he can't right now.
There is a phase of loss that we go threw both patient & caregiver. It seems like silly stuff but it is so not silly. If we need help from family & friends and they offer we should take it because the weight on our shoulders is enormous especially if you are caring for a loved one. But for me steps on my time thank you. I am grateful for the offers to clean my house, go to the store, etc. and in the hospital thank you god for the people that did some of those things but at home we need time and we need some normal. So just be there for us to cry on your shoulder, laugh with, or talk with. That is the "anything we need" right now.

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