November 19, 2014

The Caregiving Learning Curve

In the wake of my husband's most recent hospital stay, the wounds left to (try to) heal and his inability to walk, I had a moment when I thought, "Is this all that's left for us? For me?"

Like, is taking care of my husband, accompanying him to appointments, refilling his meds....all the things he needs these days, what my life is now? Am I much more of a caregiver than anything else?

This thought made me sad. For several reasons....

What about our marriage? Our friendship? Being a couple, in any sense of the word? I'm afraid that will all fall away....

I've never felt unfulfilled by "just" raising kids, so why does the thought of "just" taking care of my husband make me feel differently?

Maybe it's the grief talking. I'm still not fully used to the changes that have set in this fall. I'm sure that's a good deal of where this is coming from....

But....what if I'm not a good enough person?

Hu? Where did that come from?

Here's an example:
Every night when I'm ready for bed, I get Mark his pills and something to take them with, another drink to keep near him for the night and maybe a snack in case he needs it for his blood sugar. 
We got a new couch in August that has a little console for remotes and stuff, as well as two cup holders. Presumably you would put cups in the cup holders, but Mark had various other things in one of them so last night he had set the juice I gave him to take his pills with on top of the console. 
I said goodnight and headed upstairs. (By the way, he's not sleeping upstairs because of his chest wound and wound vac. He's usually a stomach sleeper and just can't right now, so he's more comfortable in the couch recliner.) 
After a couple of minutes Mark yells for me to come help him. He had knocked the half glass of juice over onto the couch. 
It was after 11:00 at night and this really frustrated me. I was impatient and snippy with him while cleaning it up.
Being like that doesn't help anything, doesn't change what happened. And I know it made Mark feel crappy.

This sort of thing is what makes me feel like I'm not a kind enough person to be a caregiver.

I have no desire to be some kind of martyr, to simply grin and bear it pretending everything is fine all along the way, and I wear my heart on my sleeve. It's very hard for me to hide how I feel (although I have gotten better at it).

I'm also accustomed to being able to be very honest with my husband. I've always been able to be more honest with him than anyone else in my life. He lets me say the shit one shouldn't say to people's faces.

But now there's stuff I shouldn't say to his face....and I feel bad for even thinking or feeling these things.


I love him. I love him so much. Mark is a truly awesome person who deserves to be well taken care of. I want to do this well.

It's hard, though. And I'm scared. Also angry and frustrated and sad. Not all the time, every minute, but all that crud is there, underlying.

When it bubbles up to the surface, I don't want it to end up all over my husband.

Sharing with Pour Your Heart Out.

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