Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Respite care for the caregiver

I didn't get to go camping as my brother-in-law got sick.  But I had a blast.  Mom and I picked up pizzas and went knocking on doors and had a party with some of the other residents in her retirement home.  One of the ladies said, "this is the most fun I've ever had on a Friday night!"

The next night, we made about 50 cards for them to send to their friends.

Then I took a very long drive, about 5 hours, and went exploring areas where I used to camp in another lifetime.  Great fun going back to old haunts.  Ended up at my sister's and decided to stay there a few days.

Yes, my hubby missed me something awful.  I think he is rather afraid to be home alone.  But I tell you, these respite breaks are doing me a world of good!  I used to think I had to stay by his side 24/7.  After this last surgery....I decided I simply couldn't do it any more.  And I think I am so much better for this decision. I am getting out, doing things I really want to do, having a great time.

And I know he is jealous.  He doesn't feel like getting out.  I don't feel like sitting home.  So for now, this is the solution - I just go alone.

My sis and I had so much fun shopping and gabbing.  It is such good therapy to get completely and totally away from diabetes.  And I think that's what caregiver respite is all about - to get so far away that you completely get it all out of your mind, get refreshed and refueled....and when you come home, you are ready to go full steam ahead.

I'm going away again the last week or so this month.  It's my birthday and I've decided to indulge in a full week at my sister's.  We are going to go walking, hiking, trekking, exploring and might even go camping if everyone can stay well.

In the meantime, hubby is stable.  The pain in his hips is still there as in his upper back.  He doesn't do much, just goes from his chair to the sofa and back.  Watching way too much TV.  I feel so bad for him, but at the same time, I am learning to let go, that these are his decisions, his choices, not mine.

If you provide care to someone who is ill.....give yourself adequate time off.  Get far enough away that you can completely forget your normal life.  Do something that is so not the norm.  Enjoy your own family and friends.  And if it's only an hour, just do it.  But I'm learning that I need 4 - 7 days away to really come back ready to tackle the daily caregiving.  Because afterall, if you don't take care of you, who will take care of them when you get sick?