Take Care of the Caretaker

26 Nov

I’m working on a manuscript I wrote about Chuck’s stroke and my experience as his caretaker. It’s called, not surprisingly, Stroke Happens. Today’s post is an excerpt I hope illuminates the fear of being forgotten, the fear that caretakers feel once the crisis is over and people start to move on:

“About this time, some people congratulated me for being so strong, even though I felt as fragile as a hummingbird’s egg. I suspected they were just trying to make themselves feel better, or that they wanted me to move on. What they didn’t understand is that time stands still when you’re dealing with a long-lasting chronic illness or permanent disability; sustained, consistent help is needed for months, sometimes years. I still needed help and was terrified that people were going to abandon me. My response was to write a blunt, almost accusing, email.”

After which I received a slew of support and offers of help.

My points are: if you are a caretaker, ask for help when you need it; if you know a caretaker, offer help on a consistent and ongoing basis.

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2 Responses to “Take Care of the Caretaker”

  1. melissa November 29, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    Thanks for your honesty even in this brief blog post. My mom suffered a stroke 3 weeks ago (she’s almost 85) and is ready to be released. She’ll come to our house, or hers with 24 hour care, unless we can get her more rehab. I’m going nuts and haven’t even begun caring for her. I hope everyone hears you as you quietly scream. I’ve been a caregiver before and it is incredibly draining. Please take care.

    Like

    • Laura Ann November 29, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

      Thanks, Melissa. I am doing much better six years post-stroke, but it still is a challenge. I wish you the best of luck caring for your mother. Don’t forget to ask for help!

      Like

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