Sometimes caregiving brings up all kinds of eye-openers you never expected. Not all of them are easy to take.
When a loved one goes into the hospital, whether for a routine procedure you planned for, or an unexpected visit because of an emergency, you’ll never get the same person in return. The same dynamics no longer exist.
John went in for routine work on his knee. But the rehabilitation took longer than expected. Bouncing back in recovery was a long, drawn out process. Mary was exhausted from the experience of running to the rehab center each day. She couldn’t wait for John to return home. But once he did, she found it was even more challenging. John wasn’t the same as before he checked in.
John was in more pain. Their days were spent dealing with the after effects. More time was spent on personal care; less time on communicating about the things they loved to do together. Their daily walks were out of the question. And all of that began adding to the stress of their relationship.
As a caregiver, the entire process is difficult to take. Change can come so quickly, you barely have time to react. Planning is out of the question. What can you do?
Day to day
Start by realizing that every day will bring new problems and new opportunities. Change is inevitable at this point in your life. Stop thinking about what you had in the past or wishing on the future. Instead, focus on how you can make each day its best.
While you might not be ready to voice your concerns to your loved one, there are other people in the same situation. And sometimes it can be of comfort to know you’re not alone. Look online for support groups. It can be a great comfort to type away in your spare time and find others who share your pain. You can also talk with local resources and find a group to attend in person. Sometimes finding a friend to walk with or have lunch with can give you the stress relief you need.
Talk to your loved one
Chances are he or she is feeling it too. Not only are they struggling with current health concerns, but they miss the emotional time they had before. Pick a quiet time when you have time to discuss and dive in. What can you do to bring some of your old feelings back to light? While it might not be at the same level as before you entered the hospital, you can add in time to do what you love. Instead of a walk, maybe a drive will do.
This new journey is one you’ll take together. Every day will bring something new. It’s the simple joys that will hold it all together.