Three weeks ago, I became a part-time caregiver to my dad as he had his knee replaced. My dad and mom are doing much better now. However, two week ago, my little dog, Dottie, became sick with pancreatitis.
I’d like to say that I have managed this care giving season well, but care giving has exhausted me. I feel depleted. Brain fog is swirling in my head. I can barely keep my eyes open as I sit here. I managed to keep up with my self-care when my dad had his surgery. However, that all fell to the wayside when my beloved pooch got sick.
FYI, according to the Urban Dictionary, “A spoonie is someone living with a chronic illness.” Any chronic illness that impacts your energy level counts.
So, I’m sharing my tongue-in-cheek tips for how NOT to cope when a loved one needs your help. Some humor is called for. (:
What NOT to Do As A Spoonie Caretaker
- Whatever it takes, do not ask for help. We are super heros after all.
- Focus on useless tasks such as cleaning, clearing out closets, and re-organizing your kitchen. After all, you have boundless energy reserves!
- Eat large quantities of comfort foods even if you end up uncomfortably full.
- Get as little sleep as possible. Binge watching movies or television programs will take your mind off of your troubles.
- Spend so much energy on tasks that you have no time to slow down and enjoy being with the person or pet you are caring for.
I was guilty of every one of these at some point during Dottie’s hospital stay. I rationalized the cleaning of all her beds, and bowls as, “just in case it’s a germ and not pancreatitis.” I overate comfort food, got stomach aches, stayed up too late, forgot to hydrate, worried that my dog was dying, etc.
Hopefully, my fellow spoonies, you will remember what to do when you need to take care of a loved one. And IF you catch yourself forgetting self-care, please forgive yourself and start over. It’s really not the end of the world.
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Oh, I almost forgot. Dottie is feeling much better. Till next time, Kathy