Welcome to Caregiver Friday!!!
Ever notice that we are a culture that is always in a hurry? Think of the driver on the freeway who rushes past you only to be stopped ahead by the same traffic you’re stopped by. We rush to get to places thinking that if we get there first we’ll win a prize. The truth is that when facing an illness there is a lot of waiting that goes on for both the patient and the caregiver.
I’m always amazed at how patient caregivers are when escorting patients to appointments. I think doctors and medical office designers should enlist the input of caregivers since they spend so much time in waiting room…what’s with the ugly art and the uncomfortable chairs. I’m not expecting it to be like the Taj Mahal, but the metal from the chair leaves many caregivers needing a chiropractic adjustment.
One of the most difficult aspects of caregiving is the wait. You wait in doctor’s offices and hospital waiting rooms. You wait a set number of hours before administering medication. You wait, hope and may even pray that the person you’re caring for bounces back from their illness. It’s a waiting game and that uncertainty can be unnerving.
I would encourage you to use the waiting time wisely. First find some way to reduce your level of anxiety while in waiting mode. Maybe you meditate while waiting, some may have knitting or journaling. It’s not about distraction, although that may be an outcome, but sitting and releasing the anxiety that comes with waiting.
While waiting take the time to acknowledge the impact the illness is having on your life. I can assure you that you aren’t free and clear from the impact. There is something we call “vicarious trauma” and that’s where the impact of the witnessing the illness process imprints on our own hearts and souls. Understand that you are in essence a co-patient. The only difference is the actual patient is having treatments to alleviate their trauma and you, the caregiver, sit in waiting for the person to get well.
I hope that you’ll find ways to release the energy that is impacting your own experience of the illness. If you haven’t had a physical exam in a while this a great thing to do, right now! Knowing where your own health stands allows you to have someone looking out for your own well-being. It sets a baseline so that as your caregiving responsibilities move forward your health isn’t compromised.
Caregiving is strenuous physically, emotionally and spiritually. Don’t wait for things to happen, make things happen. If you need resources research them so you don’t feel alone. Work toward self-empowerment so you don’t put your life on hold yet waiting once again. Find out from other caregivers how they survived this journey, this is no time to re-invent the wheel, a trail is already blazed.
How do you take your life off hold? Share with others how you handle the waiting, let’s be in this together!