Not forever, just for the next few months. My daughter, a young adult, had extensive foot surgery. We were not prepared for what followed.
I'm now her full-time caregiver. She’s not permitted to walk. There is a 36 pound cooling machine to drag up to her bedroom and then back downstairs every day. She's in pain. I suffer when she suffers.
My work and personal life is upended. I can do emails but only once I get her settled…at around 9 PM every evening. I am definitely not at my best. My co-workers have been terrific! They cover my absence but there are relationships, presentations, strategy meetings, etc. that I attend while not at my best! Some friends also pitch in. They bring food and stay with my daughter when I run errands.
My additional full-time role? Her adorable, affectionate puppy. I’m not accustomed to all the care required for a dog. The energetic playtime, the walks, the carrying upstairs, the scheduled veterinarian visits, the feeding, the grooming and the wonderful cuddles and puppy kisses.
I stopped going to the gym. I’m not eating regular meals -especially not nutritious ones. I sleep with one eye open in case she or the pup need me. Who knew? I admire caregivers- it’s physically, emotionally, and financially very demanding.
Grandma Carolyn’s daughter, Jodi, is especially dismayed by what she saw. Over the last year, she has gradually taken on more and more caregiver duties, such as
shopping, preparing meals, driving them to appointments that involve heavily trafficked or high-speed roads, speaking
with doctors about treatments, running errands, doing laundry, and changing bed linens. It’s been a gradual process. As a result, she doesn’t really even associate all that she is doing with caregiving. Her father, James, always offers to help, but with his pacemaker and family history of heart failure, Jodi typically politely refuses.
Jodi’s husband and two children see how each new responsibility takes its toll on Jodi. Sleep deprivation, unhealthy eating habits, and lack of exercise are just a few of the signs of her stress and overburdened schedule. After the birthday party, they fear that things are getting worse. Jodi’s daughter, Nicole, even suspects that there also has been financial effects that her mom hasn’t mentioned.
- Book Excerpt from "How Not to Tear You Family Apart"