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That is word I think we are all personally familiar with. Plink, Seba, Diane Marie, Melinda, Miriam ... and to all the caregivers who post here, know how it can affect us emotionally and physically. Burnout can be just as deadly as any disease our care-recievers are suffering from. And, I also believe, that the effects can linger indefinitely long after our loved ones have passed on.

We are constantly being encouraged to take care of ourselves, but it is so much easier said than done. My social worker is very supportive and has said that I must be my own advocate. Personal pep talks are pretty difficult to have when your whole world seems to be crushing down on you. I've been giving myself pep talks for more years than I can remember, and I've pretty much run out of pep.

My mom doesn't have Alzheimers, but she does have end-stage COPD. Her brain is not getting enough oxygen, so she has mild dementia, but she is often confused and gets very frustrated and agitated because she has trouble remembering fairly simple things. And, like your mom, Miriam, mine was definitely not a nice person. It's really only been since February and our entering hospice, that she has changed. And, like you, I am doing everything I can to lovingly care for the person she is now and not dwell on the person she once was.

I have been my mom's caregiver for many years .. she has lived with us for 20, and has steadily gone downhill with COPD for the past 8 or so years. It has been a challenge and a struggle. We were, and in a sense still are, raising a family. And, I have also been working fulltime for all of those 20 years.

So, even though I am getting some help and some support at home, I still have the enormous stress of my job ... which is getting harder and harder, day by day, and sometimes, minute by minute. The problem there is, I'm not getting the help and support at work. Our area is critically understaffed and the administration turns a blind eye. When I asked my boss to please let me bring some work home, he denied me. He knows I've been suffering from serious anxiety attacks due to the workload and the daily hostility of I endure from phone calls. Yet, he denied me the opportunity to do at least a little something to help relieve the stress. When I asked him why not, he said that being behind was the only ammunition we had to get help! Then, I asked him what does it take! For me to end up in the hospital from a stroke or heart attack! That's when I realized that's exactly what it would take. He's already had several heart attacks and has 4 stints. He's popping meds continuously for all the health problems he now has. So even though his health is bad, he is willing to sacrifice what's left of mine.

He's fine when I need to leave for Mom. But, he's not fine when it comes to me. So, I made a doctor's appointment ... it's not until June ... hope I last that long. If I can't get the support I need from my boss, I guess I'll have to give in and get help from meds.

Burnout, you betcha. I have no one else to take Mom in and letting hospice transport her to a facility for 5 days respite for me would hurt her more than I could bear. And I can't quit my job and go somewhere else ... only 5 years to retirement. I am very grateful to my husband and my daughters who really do try to help. I am soooooo thankful for hospice and that Mom isn't too difficult (yet) to care for.

So, everyday, I just tell myself that I'm one day closer to no longer being a caregiver; I am one day closer to retirement; and, I am probably one day closer to having a heart attack or a stroke.

Thanks for listening and God bless all of you. As was said so many times before, only a caregiver knows what a caregiver goes through.

Love to all,

Dee
Dee
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(((Dee)))
You are a very wise woman and obviously, very very strong. I admire your strength and ability to do what you are doing and have been doing for so very long.

Yes, burnout is certainly more serious than any of us can imagine, what it can do to our health is devastating.

I had a similar situation at work as you do...very very demanding job, very demanding boss (surgeon) that expected perfection and God forbid I wasn't available to him at any moment's notice...the stress was incredible and I really didn't realize how bad it was until I walked away from it. I realize you are so close to retirement, you can't walk away and I hope that you are able to care for yourself so that you don't jeopardize your health. Without one's health, we have nothing, really.

Your support at this site has been tremendous and I just want you to know I appreciate you very much and will keep you and your family in my prayers.

Warm wishes,
Miriam
Dear Dee:

Your stress at this point sounds extremely high. Do you have any sick leave or vacation time that you could take? It might help if you could find some volunteer help. When Dad was on hospice, they provided help with the housecleaning. Of course, in a way it is harder having to deal with all the "new people" in the house.

There is Faith in Action that might have some help close to you. Their website is:
http://www.fiavolunteers.org/ I know that this probably doesn't help at this point but perhaps you could get a bit of reprieve for a few hours.

Dealing with hospice and working during this time has got to be very, very hard on you. Try to take some time for yourself somehow even if it is just a quick cup of hot chocolate or reading a chapter in a novel. And just know that we are here for you!

Love and Hugs from Glenda
Glenda & Miriam (My dear friends!)

Thank you so much. You have no idea how much your empathy and support means to me. Then again, I'm sure you do.

Just feeling like I'm part of wonderful family here helps. I can really feel your love and concern, and that helps me go on.

I think when we suffer from burnout, we suffer a sense of loss ... of ourselves. All of the intense emotions are right on the surface and you feel raw inside and so terribly, terribly tired.

But, I also just read the posts from Robin and Ces and I know that I must go on. They are wonderful women and they are not quitters. Neither am I.

Dee
((Dee))
Dear Angel,
You are right on when you speak of burn out. I too posted a similar post years ago when I first came to this site, and while my father was living with me. To right you are, we caregivers struggle with finding balance every moment of everyday. Yes, easier said than done to take care of oneself, but without OUR health, we cannot help our loved one. Too be honest, had my POA rights not been taken away, I would have been BURNT OUT years ago. I have just gone through a serious of health issues, once again, I need to relearn taking care of ME FIRST. Hang in there friend, YOU ARE NUMBER ONE. YOU FIRST.
hugs,
Robin



[This message has been edited by angel437 (edited 05-19-2007).]
Angel Robin and all other angels,

You are all so perceptive and I know you have all experienced what I'm going through. But, I know that with your support I'll get through it.

I read your spotlight ... I too suffer IBS and each occurance is more painful and lasts longer. It'll hit in the middle of the night or worse ... while I'm trying to take care of a student at work! When the spells finally pass, I'm totally exhausted and drained. My boss is aware of my health problems ... even the IBS.

But, I am going to try to take everyone's advice and try to take some time for myself. I have made a doctor's appointment and he is the kind who actually takes the time to listen. If it means taking meds for the rest of my life, so be it. Or, at least until retirement or Mom passes away ... whichever comes first.

You angels have been sent from heaven. I am eternally thankful I found you.

Dee
Dee,
You might want to consider eliminating gluten from your diet. There is a lot of information on the Internet about living a gluten-free life and it is really amazing how gluten can impact your health if you have a sensitivity to it. I've been following a gluten-free diet for two months now, and I find my concentration to be much better, the "brain fog" is gone, my memory is better. I have fibromyalgia and I'm finding the flare ups to not be as severe, and pain levels seem to be better. May be worth a try...
Warm regards,
Miriam

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