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That is a question that made me really stop and think. My free time is almost non-exsistant. By the time 9:00 p.m. comes along, I'm just to tired to even think of me. Now that the weather is getting nicer, I try to hit my garden right after supper if my husband is home. He can clean up the dishes and I can have some "earthy" therapy. Gardening has been such a wonderful release for me. I've learned the love of nature from my father. His favorite song was "I come to the garden alone" - a great gospel hymn. I often sing it to myself, with tears streaming down my face when I get to the part - And He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own. I'm then reminded of the strength God does give me on a daily basis.
This week-end, my husband and myself are taking a trip to northern Michigan. We're going to try to get away more often - we need time for us to get connected. Our main focus is MIL and we get pushed in the background. It's sad that it has affected our relationship this way.
I also try to get away to a quiet room and read. It gives my mind a chance to leave this realty.
I'd love to hear any other suggestions. Sometimes it's hard to even think of an activity that I could fit into my schedule.
I have been trying different things for myself. I found I was just burning out, and spinning my wheels.

I try to go for a massage once a month. A dear friend of mine does it in her home. I have started to read more, especially inspirational books. I sit on my deck and listen and watch the birds. I am journaling more too. I find it very therapeutic. I am *Taking time to smell the roses* if you will.

Empowering Caregivers has truly been an inspiration, support, and I have made many new friendships. I honestly believe you all have changed my life.

God Bless you Gail Mitchell and all that you are, and do.

I have to laugh so hard!!!! Sometimes I don't always listen to my own advice.. I have a long list of shoulds... but what I do do is take long, hot relaxing aromatherapy baths by candlelight which is relaxing, focusing and balancing for me.

I used to have an accupuncturist/non invasive chiropracter that was covered by my insurance and I saw him a couple of times a week.. but that was almost two years ago.. I am out of touch with some of the alternative therapists.. I used to go to a program that closed because of lack of funding.

But I do try to get Reiki or some form of healing where I receive energy for when I give and I give as I do, it's essential that I get replenished or I slump immediately. However, this past year, I have not had treatments as regular as I know I need to...

I think another big thing is balancing the care and needs of my mother with the organization and the maintenance of the web sites... for a few years I went 15-19 hrs a day non stop... and then the thyroid, meopause thingy hit and boy did that knock me to my senses.. so now I spend no more than 8 hrs daily at my computer at the most and less when I can..especially if I am travelling and with appointments etc.

I am also making a committment to begin redeveloping a personal social life more myself which went on hold these past 9 years as well..

The one thing I came to truly understand this week is that while my mother jumps from being needy to being totally independent, she still truly wants me to have my own life.. as evidenced by my father when he was dying. I had stopped work to take care of him and my mother who had burned out caring for him.. he kept saying how he wanted me to go back to work.. to have a life and how happy he'd be knowing this.. and wouldn't you know.. the first day I went back to work, was the day he passed... so I am really committimg to myself to reinvent myself and my personal's ok to do it all...

That's a toughy. I am not sure I really do. I do not treat myself as I should. I do not get enough rest or eat right. I admit it. The seed is there, just know water right now to make it grow. Too burned out. I am finding I am becoming shakey and have alot of anxiety/nerves for know apparent reason.
{{{Sue}}}} for no apparent reason? Shakey and anxious? Come over here and view your situation more objectively angel... let's get a real good perspective on all you are doing and the mini scares and stresses you experience daily, that compound daily... a little pinch of this and a little of that goes a long way.. now season yourself properly angel.. nurture... nurture... nurture and when you think you have nurtured yourself enough... nurture, nuture, nuture still more... take care

Very True Gail.
I will certainly try. I am trying to gether the nerve. But it is always raining. Now my daughter just called, her babysitter is ill (poor woman) and my daughter's car won't start. That would be nothing, but compounded with the daily (as you stated above) it's one more straw on the back. I am soooo overwhelmed. I have my own problems and no one seems to notice!!!
Unfortunately no one will take notice until you make the choice to make yourself the priority.. after me, you come first.. you will never know until you close your eyes, take a deep breath and just do it.. your daughter has friends.. she should be resourceful.. you must realize you permit all of it..and when you say NO.. you will see things shift quite a bit. We're behind you 100% angel... go for it!

*This* is the first thing I've done for me in a long time. And I don't mean to be offensive on any level, but for me it's just not enough. It's a start but I hope somehow that things change enough in life that I have more than a message board.

I can relate to what the poster said about being anxious continually and feeling overwhelmed. There are things my dad *can* do for himself and should, but he abdicates more and more personal responsibility for his progress. Maybe I'm too unrealistic, I don't know. What scares me is I am either growing increasingly numb, or angry. Occasionally, I break into tears. Especially reading what others have posted because it hits so close to home. It's the cliched scenario of "Wow, you too?". When you're so isolated and without some source of recharging the battery ( can you recharge a battery that's been completely drained? ) you only start to feel increasingly isolated.

I feel like my own life has so long ago passed me by. I find myself looking at who I was and who I am. My education, my pursuits, my career..all part of some other person's life. The people I socialized with around some interest have pulled away as they continue on and I have not been able to. I know that over time they probably felt guilty talking about all the fun and excitement to someone who would also over time be less and less involved.

There is no 'planning' free time for me because the spontaneity of my father's problems do not submit to scheduling. My fathers needs or wants or continually overridng my own. Even when I was fresh out of ICU myself seven months ago due to a brain injury, only four days home and my dad had to have a hernia operation and then be attended to. Then his chemo and this and that started.

Anyway, I am trying to accept these incremental five minute breaks. I am trying to determine better wether my dad's 'jump' commands are actual crisis i must rush to or wether i can complete the task i started before he called for me. I think the most productive thing I've done recently is admit to myself that I cannot be an army of one all the time and that doing so has pushed me right into burnout. So I'm trying to notice those warning flags and stop to close my eyes for a moment and tell myself to relax. I'm not as sucessful as I'd like to be, but I'm trying.
I love what you wrote in your last paragraph Init... how we dimminish all that we do as caregivers is beyond me.. if we'd only take care of ourselves one/tenth of how we care for them.. how much better we'd all be.. and we must know, acknowledge and own our own limitations..

Have you given any thought to placement for him? It doesn't have to be permanent..just so you can have a breather for a while, to heal and regroup yourself and your energies. Can your father afford to hire someone to attend to him.. tell us more so we can help to guide you in different options available.. is your dad a veteran etc.

Init, you are assessing your situation quite well.. so why are you rescuing your father from the chores or things he abdicates to you? Why are you making him more dependent on you then he should be? I am not coming down on your but you are allowing this and it is draining you because he is not willing to take responsibility for himself.. many a daughter to a parent will want to take away their parent's pain.. make it all go away and better... but unfortunately we are learning it just doesn't work this way.. and we are needing to make choices.. to set boundaries and give it back to them. There is nothing wrong with saying no, "you are capable of doing it" and walk away.. without feeling guilty, I might add... there are all kinds of emotions, maybe denial that they are going through.. they may feel helpless, useless etc. but it is also their responsibility to learn how to talk about it and make it easier on the children as well.
Hi everyone,
First off, let me thank you all for your understanding and support. I appreciate it very much.

To the last post, I know you're not coming down on me, so don't worry about being direct.

When I posted, I had hit a wall on many levels and pretty dang fatigued. Hindsight is 20-20 in regards to what we should've done before Dad came home. The reality is, he is here. And I'm happier about that than not and regret giving any other impression.

Currently, an RN comes twice a week ( but she's only been here twice ) and a PT is supposed to come 3x a week. It is hard to gauge any effectiveness ( with the exception of the lack of attention paid to his colostomy ) of this schedule at this point in time. Particularly now.

The last 5 days he developed some problematic symptoms which became progressively worse. Over the phone, the docs can only throw meds at them and my dad was not interested in going back ( mainly because that was suggested by a resident, not a fellow AND psychologically...well..he'd been there for over a going back was a gloomy consideration psychologically ). Well, I kind of 'took the opportunity' to send the osotomy surgeon an email last night bullet pointing some of his problems. They called this morning and because a 'real' doctor said he should come in, that's just what happened. He was admitted and they're going to look into what's happening ( so far, there's no blockage ). I have no idea, at this point, how long they'll keep him but he will come right back home. Frankly, I was relieved they admitted him as some of these problems were at the root of his refusing food and drink. At the very least, they can rehydrate him.

One of the nurses at the hospital wasn't too impressed by the home health care nurses work .

Believe me when I say I don't have any desire to make my father more dependent on me than is good for either of us. And I am looking into some respite services, and others, offered through an elder organization here in town. Haven't talked to them yet as when I'm done here I plan on trying to sleep a few hours before going back to the hospital ;-)
But I won't argue that there probably is some truth to a kind of Pavlov's dog cycle having been allowed to develop over time by both of us.

I'm glad I found this board because reading your own experiences only confirmed my rising suspicions that firing on all pistons continually is draining at best and can, in the long run, be devestating both to my health and my father's.
Stop torturing myself with how any other carer finds it easier and manages better.

1500mg evening primrose oil per day (helps with stress)
1 vitamin C & zinc supplement (helps with immune system & healing)

A low fat, low salt, no red meat, high fibre diet as much as poss. This was suggested by the doctor for my partner's condition, and it does me no harm to keep the same guidelines.

Meditate when I can spare a few minutes and remember to.

Use the shower for destressing.

[This message has been edited by Magratte (edited 07-25-2004).]

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