Caring for Caregivers

I am extremely lucky to have a spouse who has stepped up to the plate since my diagnosis threw our lives into reverse. Fortunate, too, is the fact that our children have grown, married, and are parents themselves. Basically, he and I are back to being a couple again without the stress of raising kids. Should be the “golden” years, right? Wrong.

Instead of planning vacations, or mini-vacations, or weekends away, or even trips to the grocery store, I now can list five things off the top of my head as to why it is probably better that I should stay home. Bill now does most of the food shopping and errand-running especially lately because here in the Northeast we are experiencing a never-ending winter. Snow and ice are making it impossible  for me to venture outside.

So, in addition to outside errands, he cooks, cleans and does the laundry. I have tried repeatedly to suggest outside paid help, but he refuses to let me do it. I guess it must be a man thing, but all of this makes me fear he will burn out and blame me for it. So, in order to forestall such a possible event from happening, I have instituted the care for my caregiver protocol.

I make sure “please” and “thank you” are words always on my lips. I make detailed grocery lists, arranged by store sections,to make food shopping less of a guessing game for him. Each week the list corresponds to a day-to-day menu guide so there is no wondering what’s for dinner. It’s not spontaneous but it works for us. He washes the clothes but I do all the folding. He runs the dishwasher but I put the clean dishes etc. away. I take care of paying the bills, appointment making, gift buying (mostly done on-line). In short, where I can help out, I do.

The only area where I need to actually do something concrete, and I’ve been less than cooperative here, is traveling. We did travel quite a bit before I got sick. Now, not so much. With the exception of a weekend last April spent in New Hampshire visiting my daughter, our last true vacation was a cruise three years go. This is bad. I know my husband needs to vacation somewhere –  anywhere – and I am dragging my feet (so to speak). I have got to stop being…well, me.  A more courageous self has got to be let out!

Maybe once the weather improves, so will my anxiety, and I can do something positive for my caregiver. He deserves it.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Heidi @ lightlycrunchy
    Feb 21, 2014 @ 09:11:15

    Hi – I just found your blog and wanted to leave a comment. I have a wonderfully supportive spouse too, as well as children who are old enough to pick up some slack at home. I always try to say please and thank you too, hoping that this will help. I have had MS for years, but it is only just starting to get more active and affect my strength. Until now I have been able to adjust and adapt. Now I find that I am relying on my family more and more. I’ve been off from work since just before Christmas and am still hoping that the latest relapse will start to get better soon. Until then I accept as much help as others are willing to give and do whatever I still can by myself on the good days.

    My husband and the kids have their own interests (as do I), which I encourage and attend as much as possible, so that I don’t become a focus and I retain a feeling of normalcy.


    • Miss Jan's Words
      Feb 21, 2014 @ 15:29:05

      Thank you for your comments. Did we ever think when we got married that the words “for better or worse” would become so important? Battling a disease is hard but having someone to battle it with us makes all the difference.


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