Let’s see how our frazzled retired husband (you can read the first part of his story here) is holding up after a week of caregiving. Here’s an update:
“Last week my wife had surgery She was given some painkillers and was sent home from this “outpatient” procedure. I had to procure the help of two men younger then myself just to get her in the door and into bed. I was not told that I had the option of having the surgery performed in a hospital where my wife would have been able to spend the night and would be given more effective painkillers. She was in severe pain that night and the next two days. She fell trying to get to the bathroom with the crutches she had been provided.
The doctors talked me into spending my insurance money renting her a “scooter” on which she could rest her knee while getting around sort of like on a skateboard. They didn’t tell me that, at 64 years of age and freshly out of major surgery, she wouldn’t be able to use it for at least a week. So we were left with the crutches. Fortunately, I was able to contact the local Senior Center and procure a wheelchair and a walker for her. Of course, getting all this equipment took time away from caring for her at home, to her detriment. She had no appetite, so my early effort to cook meals for her went uneaten. It’s just as well – they were terrible.
I can tell you one thing for certain as a result of the past week’s frustrations. GET HELP! Whether it’s from your kids, or friends at church, or whether you have to pay a neighbor kid $10 an hour to just sit with your wife and watch her, get help. Failure to do so will result in your being overwhelmed, angry and frustrated with the delays in the system, and the lack of sleep alone (you DO have to help with her bathroom visits in the middle of the night) will diminish even your best efforts. “
This sounds like a case of CAREGIVER FATIGUE. This husband is feeling the effects of weeks of accumulated stress. He is feeling alone, overwhelmed and worn-out. He is having some trouble learning how to gather the information he needs from medical personnel. The Guide to Talking to the Doctor will give him the tools he needs to feel confident in that role in the future.
Coming up next is some information about preventing and dealing with caregiver fatigue.