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Email: WD4NYL@aol.com

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Hi, I've been a caregiver to my 87 year old father for 10 years. He has had 7 strokes, a broken hip & is on again/off again mentally. My mom who was 84 passed away March 2. The two main problems I deal with is the isolation & knowing I have let myself go to pot.

It's hard for me to talk with people, I've poured myself into the caregiving role & it's been the center of everything full time, for a long time. I feel I have less & less in common with most people I meet, because I'm really out of touch with the "normal world" & people my age, they talk of what they are doing, where they go, etc & want to know what I'm up to & look surprised when I don't really have anything to add. They don't really care about bowel movements, temperaments, etc.
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Hello Mark

I am so glad that you posted at this site. First off, my thoughts and prayers are with you. I was sorry to hear of the loss of your mom in between caring for your father so long. I am sure you know what a blessing you are to be caring for them as you do.

I can more than relate to your issues around isolation and having let yourself go to pot.These are the disadvantages that we come to accept as our way of life while we are in the role caring for our loved ones....but fortunately, in this day and age, there is the INTERNET....which is a wonderful resource when you are able to reach out as you have.

I am also happy to know that you are on AOL. I offer the Empowering Caregivers Chat at 8PM EST ...you can access the chat by going to keyword and typing in BH CHAT. It will bring up a window that lists the chats for the day. Scroll to the chats for 8PM and click on the link to THE MUTUAL SUPPORT ROOM where many members will greet you with love, caring and support as we are all in this together.

There are also chats offered from this site as well as many other sites online. Hope to see you at some.You may also subscribe to the free Empowering Caregivers Newsletter at http://www.care-givers.com/subscribe.html

Blessings to you....you aren't in this alone ....caregivers understand what each other is going through....most who are not cannot begin to comprehend the challenges and emotions we are faced with. Have a great day. Gail
Email: WD4NYL@AOL.COM

Message:

Hi, Thanks for the message & it's good to meet you. It's good to know that there are others who can relate to what we are experiencing. It's a unique challenge & not for the faint of heart. We get tired & tired of it, but, deep inside we know that if we had to do it all over again we would. A good sense of humor & prayer, especially helps.

Thanks for the information on the chat, I will try to make it & the newsletter, which I will subscribe to. I've been online three months & am slowly getting the hang of it (I hope). Thanks again & God Bless Mark
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Hi Mark

Hope this site continues to lift your spirits and you find some of the support you need through chats, boards and other sites as well. Fortunately, the Internet is bridging the gap for many Caregivers who have been in isolation. It is truly a gift for all to share in the caring, the love and support. Most of all discovering that we are not alone in the challenges we face. I believe it is truly a blessing for all. Hope you can make it to the chats...look forward to seeing you...If I can be of any assistance, please feel free to email me or IM me on AOL at BHOSTGRMLV . Blessings to you. Gail
Email: jiorns@snet.net

Message:

What a special person you are!! I thought only women took care of their own. I am just so amazed that a man would give of his heart and time like you are doing. I only see men who leave and go to their jobs and let me do the house work and the caregiving, first the children and now my mother.

Yes, a sense of humor is good to have. I am getting to find that my sense of humor is still intact now that I found this site to give me a boost. What is hard to take right now is the fact that my mothers lose of her mind probably could mean that the oxygen isn't getting to her brain and if that is the case not to the rest of her body either. Is this nearing the end for her? If it is, I am not taking it well. I was okay accepting the extra work but the ending of it all is not going so well with me.

How do you view the memory lose and brain deterioration? Maybe I just need another opinion to get me onto the right perspective.
Email: jiorns@snet.net

Message:

Gail, I noticed your insights into the 'stages' of deterioration and am most interested in what you might know about this. My mother has loss of memory more frequently now than last year. She has leukemia and the symptoms evident with that disease are her night sweats, red spots under the skin, and unexplained bruising, some nodules around the rectum, and boils that occur about once a month. I do not know what A. D. is.

Her Dr. told me she had the beginnings of Alzheimer's about a year ago. He tried giving her that Aricept stuff that is for Alzheimer's but it made no difference so stopped it. I don't know, she could have that I suppose, she used to be pretty nasty to me and now she is nice to me which is sure a switch in disposition which I read happens. She used to treat me as her personal slave and now she respects me as an equal. The only actual pain she has is in her lower back on her right side. I heat up a flaxseed bag in the microwave and the gentle heat takes the pain away, so it isn't an unbearable thing for her. She has medication for arthritis, pain, depression, and aspirin for a clogging carotid artery. That clogging artery is where I get the idea of the oxygen not getting to her brain causing the memory loss.

Another little attempt at humor: I enjoy the memory loss because she does not remember that she doesn't like me!
Message:

HI Sandi

You might want to have your mom checked for the Alzheimer's Disease which is what I referred to as A.D. as there are new methods for diagnosing...maybe she wasn't on the medication long enough...if she does have it , it is important for you to learn as much as possible about it as possible to not only understand it but to make it easier on yourself.

As far as the stages, it is too much for me to go into at this point. Please forgive me but it is very time consuming doing all that I am at this point on my own. I am hoping in the near future to have sponsorship...whereby I can have a staff working with me. At this point, it is best to go to the resource page and look under death and dying here at the site at http://www.care-givers.com/links.html and research some of the links about death and dying. The literature can be found on many of the sites and I am sure you will benefit from them with regard to the stages of dying....if you have any questions perhaps at that point you can post them on the boards here for further discussion

You are in my thoughts and prayers. Gail
Message:

Hello Sandy

I am not quite sure what your mom's condition is...If it is A.D. I haven't had exposure in caring for a loved one with A.D. Many illnesses can deprive an individual of oxygen to the brain...medications can cause memory lapse or losses as well...many times, when an individual is in their final stages, they may leave their body or have visitations from a loved one on the other side, or angels, or whatever....many help to prepare them for their transition.

I remember my dad having some lapses. His condition was cancer in the abdominal area. I would notice his eyes remaining half open as if he was in a trance. Then he would come back into my world or our world a little out of it. When he did, he would start speaking about things from a whole different perspective. He was speaking with awareness and wisdom...I can't explain it all. I am just sharing it.

Losing a loved one, especially a parent is extremely traumatic when we watch them go through the many stages of deterioration. For my dad, once a huge strong man that we actually feared, he became so thin and frail. Just when I thought he couldn't lose anymore...boom...there it was right before my eyes. It helped me to talk to others to learn more about the deterioration process for the specific illness so I wasn't so alarmed as they happened right before my eyes.

Reading about the different stages in the final stages also was an incredible support...most of all talking about it and sharing about it....hearing that you are not going through it alone, is probably the most important factor in keeping your sanity.

Somewhere I read that we come in alone as infants needing all the love and nurturing and we leave alone as if we have reversed the whole cycle. Maybe we are just completing it....It is food for thought...Just remember we are here to support you

Love & Light
Gail

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