Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Self check time!

For anyone starting out on the journey as a carer for someone close to them, this is the first time you are going to get for some self reflection. A little window of time that allows you time to be you. My advice.... TAKE IT! You really won't realise at this stage the sheer amount of pressure you are already under. You are caring for someone, arranging a multitude of things to enable the treatment and help process, taking on board that someone you love is ill, and somewhere in the mix you actually have to continue to function to full capacity in your own life too. At this stage I though I was doing really well, and to be fair all appeared fine, and I seemed to function pretty well. But with hindsight, getting some help early one, pacing myself and sharing the workload would by far have been the better decision.

Ok so my situation was a little out of the ordinary, but if anything it was making life easier for me not harder. At this stage I was off work ling term sick with the arm, and being post surgery my return was not set in stone. So apart from the limitations of movement in my arm I was a free agent to attend these appointments with mum. I realise and fully appreciate how "lucky" I was to have this opportunity to offer so much support at this stage. I also realise this is not the norm for most people in my situation, so if you are trying to juggle life and hospitals, it's going to be an effort. So again I say, if you can get respite, take it whenever possible.

Remember you are only useful to the person if you can function. If you let yourself slip under and are compromised in your ability to care, then you cease to become the effective carer you want to be.
My own personal blog was where I spent most of my time reflecting on things, and for me in a strange way that worked. Receiving feedback from people, getting advice from people who understood where I was coming from, and most of all being able to read back through my entries and make sense of what I had been saying or feeling a week or a month ago.

At this point a pattern was emerging in our family, and based on my lack of commitments to other things, and me having more "free time", it was becoming obvious that I was from this point on the primary carer now. Now this isn't a bad thing, I was willing to take it all on. But what I got wrong was to turn my back on occasional offers of help.with hindsight, every little helps and a break is a break. My issue was that I was still regularly attending physio for my back and arm. Private and NHS physio, as well as clinic appointments for follow ups on my arm, attending the GP regularly to manage my absence from work, oh and 2-3 appointments a week at least with mum too. And in between all this, trying to carry life on as normal, with getting mum out and about, shopping etc.

So from this point on, self check is important. As m sure you will see from my battles with myself and my sanity over the coming months.

At this early stage the cracks were already beginning to show, stress levels rising, irritation levels through the roof, and patience almost non existent.

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