Care giving and me…
I have been a caregiver since the age of seven. I did not know it at the time, but I was. My bio mom had MS and I was the only person that did the laundry, walked to the grocery store, and picked her up off the floor. My bio father was not around much and when he was, he was really no help at all.
When I finally ‘got back’ to my grandparents, I took care of them in my twenties, caring for them through several illnesses, heart attacks, prostate cancer, leukemia, and various hospital visits with mom that required after care. Once my beloved Dat passed, I cared for Mom. She had several medical problems, and also had dementia.
My aunt moved in with us in 2013, with many problems. I took care of her, got her to the proper doctors, got all of her medical problems under control, went through two hip replacements with her, and of course took her all over the place, as well as did all the cooking and cleaning and laundry for her. Moved her into our Master Bedroom, treated her like a queen….Now that she is feeling good, she went behind my back and moved in with her son a month ago. I was used, perhaps not maliciously, but used anyway, and am glad that she is now in her own place with my cousin.
I also have taken care of relatives who had cancer, or dementia, or other illnesses. I have always done this. I never knew it as ‘care giving’….
When the recession hit in 2008, our company did not have much work and we lost our home. I was still home schooling our children, but I knew I had to do something to make money. I had little side jobs such as selling things on line and an antique booth, but those businesses also suffered during the recession. I knew I had to get an education.
I started school and got hung up on math. I went through several classes several times, and was taking my last full class load in September 2015. Once that class load was finished, I was ready to enroll in the LPN program. I figured that since I had been a caregiver of one kind or another, I may as well go into nursing. I had to drop all of those classes when we found out my son, (then 17) suffered from a very dangerous heart disease. I just could not concentrate and my Anxiety won.
We went through all the trauma of doctors and doctors and doctors and we now live from six months to six months but he seems to be okay for now. Then we were told we had to move and we have been busy adjusting to the fixer upper we purchased. I have not re-enrolled in classes yet because I don’t think I want to be a nurse any longer.
During my school days of a few years ago, I was a care giver for an older lady that suffered from dementia, and diabetes. I worked for her daughter for almost two years. It was a job that I really loved, and had a special connection with her mother. I received a week’s notice that she was going to put her mother into an assisted living facility. After that I did care giving here and there and finally found a great job watching two children at night while their mom worked. I worked for them for over a year until they moved to another state.
I received a call a few weeks ago from the lady I used to work for. She was bringing her mother home. When I first worked for her, I lived closer. Now I am an hour away. I am still working for her a few days a month but it is a struggle with the drive and My Life, not to mention my Anxiety. Ever since my son was diagnosed, I like to stay close to home. It’s my Anxiety getting the best of me, I know.
Today I was glancing at a web site that needs care givers and child care providers. The lady I work for is advertising for a care giver for her mother. She wants me to drive an hour for a ‘few hours’ of work, but it isn’t possible. She has no idea the hardship for me in order to get to her house. She greets me with smiles and platitudes and really just lies disguised with a smile. Her ad said, ‘sometimes it will be 3- 6 hours….’ I told her that I could only work a minimum of six hour shifts; otherwise it isn’t worth it financially to drive all the way up there. She lives down a winding country road, several of them in fact, very inconvenient location. She also offered in her ad, ‘more hours if wanted’….I know what that means. She will drop me without a moment’s thought, but a sincere, ‘I’m sorry’…
On one hand, I love her mom completely, which is who I take care of. But I really don’t want to be working so far from home. Not as long as my son is still living here. On the other hand, after I saw her ad, I knew that the person she hires for ‘3-6’ hours will eventually take my place. She only really needs me two days, which are long days, per month.
I have been thinking about this for a few weeks, knowing she was going to find a person who could come in for a few hours at a time. I used to do that, as well as the longer hours. I think I will look for a night position someplace closer and try not to feel guilty. I always feel guilty if I am ‘letting someone down’…but on the other hand I am not really letting her down if she is advertising for someone else…I know that people don’t want to work for a few hours; they want to work as many as possible. If I am honest with myself, if she were to give me forty hours, I wouldn’t want to make that drive. I feel bad about that too, but my own false sense of security comes first, as does my son. My own well being comes first. It has to.
I have not been like this before. I have always said, ‘Yes’ , even if it made me Anxious or Uncomfortable. I am not skilled in anything but sales and am not educated so can most likely only get a part time job that my kids says is beneath me. But it’s not beneath me, to my way of thinking. I just need a little money each month to get us by. My hubs just can’t work as hard as he used to….
Maybe my care giving days are over…I am not sorry, that should tell me something….
Care giving and me…