So I seem to think Chris, who is ill, has more freedom than I do as caregiver. But surely that is an oversimplification.
After all, he is a man, who, with diabetes and severe coronary artery disease, still gets up out of bed once or twice a week and goes out to appraisals, to check how things are going on the work site.
A man who always has and will still get breakfast if I have a morning meeting, or make himself a sandwich if I’m having lunch with friends.
Who really loves to have his coffee brought to him in bed, who wants me to sit and watch TV with him. Who in the past has enjoyed helping prepare and share meals.
And he seems to appreciate the cleaning and laundry that go with keeping a place up. So it’s not like he’s taking advantage of me.
Alma Vaugeois, a friend and clinical counselor, talked about Chris. Although he is very sick, he has not made illness his primary identity, she told me.
The way he has constructed his identity, including his illness but not entirely focused on it, there is a generosity in him. That and his deep sense of humour make him strong enough to allow you to be you, she said.
This will not be every caregiver’s experience, Alma added. Not everyone is like that. Some people who are very controlling will not be able to give their caregivers that support.
So it’s not about Chris, this sense of losing myself to the suction of the demands of his care. It’s more like I’m not making quite the right decisions.
That’s the issue that needs a closer examination. Now. Before his condition deteriorates and his needs escalate.
3 thoughts on “Losing a Sense of Myself–Who’s Responsible? Caregiver? Or Patient?”
i remember when my dad was sick, and i felt much the same way. i wasn’t anyone except the person who cared for him. That was a choice, and later in life, as i adopted caregiver as part of my identity, i found that it wasn’t a bad thing.
You are a lot of things. A caregiver, wife, mother, writer, investigator, tax preparer, adviser, quilter, reader, walker, thrift shopper, home decorator, and a whole bunch of other stuff. One part of you is more in use than the other parts right now, but that doesn’t make the other things any less important or real.
The other parts didn’t go anywhere. They’re just napping. 🙂
great perspective!! Thanks for sharing with us.