Written by B.I.
I have been a caregiver for over five years to my elderly father. He still lives independently from me, in spite of some serious health issues that at times have landed him in the hospital. Of late, I have also taken on a caregiving role with another family member who lives in my household and has gone through some recent serious surgery. Is taking care of them an option? Not really, but, even so, I would gladly do what I can to assist them, even though taking care of two people simultaneously has been challenging.
As a caregiver I rely, to a degree, on those to whom I provide care, to communicate information to me that I need to do my best for them. I am known as an organized person who looks ahead to ask questions and do good scheduling, to hopefully prevent problems or conflicts, and generally make life easier on everyone.
Also, there is always a cast of many characters whom I interact with, such as medical staff, our health care system, pharmacies, bankers, grocery stores… You name it. I connect with many individuals and their organizations to provide the best care possible for my loved ones. Like the time I needed to get the cardiologist to update the prescription change agreed upon but had never been phoned in to the pharmacy. Or getting discussions going on home health care post-surgery. And, don’t forget trying to meet the tastes and preferences of family members.
At times, as much as I try to do my best, I do not always meet my goals, sometimes because I have been given partial or incorrect information or none at all. This is good fodder for my inner critic to rise up and blame me for not doing a particularly good job. How could I have not anticipated that I was missing some vital piece of information that could have made such a big difference for my family?
However, as much as I am excellent at blaming myself, lately I have taken pause to examine what is going on here. After feeling particularly frustrated over a recent incident involving a prescription oversight, I stopped in my tracks and asked, “What are you doing? Look at how this is impacting your health, your sense of balance and peace.” I rapidly followed that up with asking myself, “Have you done your best to provide service to your family?” “Yes,” was my immediate response. “Can anyone, least of all yourself, expect any more?” “No,” I sheepishly answered.
It was definitely a wake up call, to gladly take care of those for whom I am responsible but at the same time remembering that I am only one person doing her best. In the end, I refuse to play the blame game and instead use my limited energy levels, my time and skills, and most of all my concern for family to get on with doing the very best I can to help make life as meaningful as possible for everyone. And, that most definitely includes me.