Taking a hold of the situation of caregiving but taking care of yourself also...

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Both my parents became suddenly 'sick' about 4 years ago...Mom was starting to show signs of dementia . As soon as I started with her and her dr appts, Dad suddenly became ill with pneumonia, which led directly into congestive heart failure and nearly died within a few days. Unfortunately since Mom was not in immediate dire need of healthcare (it could be put on hold for a little bit, I just kept a very close eye on her), I tended to Dad. He was in ICU for @ 4 months, went to Rehab but had to go back to the hospital for another month. The first few days was a nightmare since I had to contact the family atty and become appointed DPOA , and all of the phone calls and paperwork that comes along with that...Days blended into one another and I was on a constant pace ...since we weren't sure Dad would survive I made several changes that were important; I removed their car since Mom talked about driving, I made alot of home changes where they lived for safety reasons for Mom, I can't tell you how many phone calls I made or received...my life was on a constant run....fortunately Dad survived but once he got home he had endless dr appts back and forth. Since I chose to do all the driving that took much of my time but I was ok with it, I knew that if the proper healthcare and maintenance it took for Dad for just a few years longer, and also became for Mom since she did develop Alzheimers, I would do it. Endless dr appts....but because they are my parents it was important that I took care of them since I know their own habits and would have strangers running around more and sometimes needlessly !!! I tried to maintain also my home and family with their needs and wants and daily living also...I tried to get my own dr appts in, and would schedule my life around their needs...I also received the inheritance of a home 200 miles away and that maintenance/cost...plus the maintenance of our own home...I was being pulled in a thousand directions and just now I am starting to feel it, feeling the pressure, exhaustion, endless thinking of it all and I am pretty sure I am becoming depressed...SO...after accepting that this is what I am feeling, I decided a few weeks ago to stop this madness, stop running around like a nut and trying to 'shut off' thinking so I can get back to MY life...I had set up parameters which worked for the most part, and try to do things that relax me. However, it obviously still isn't enough so I took another look at it and now I have scheduled some dental work for my self, a hair appt, I joined a healthclub for 'alone' time/exercise, and my own dr appts !!! My husband is a OTR truck driver and I just recently came back from going on the road with him for a few days and it was like a damn vacation for me !!! I was relaxed, I slept, I laughed...it was great !!! I had someone available to check on my parents and could also reach me if needed to for emergencies only !!! Whew !!! I'm going to make sure I continue this and not put off any more of MY life...when I started to realize when I would ask myself "what did I ever do to enjoy my day ??? , then I knew I was doing TOO much caregiving and not enough of my own caretaking...changes had to be made...so please always take care of yourself and don't allow even your own family to push away your own care....smile, laugh, RELAX !!! :)

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What a story! You're doing the right thing carving out some life for yourself. Are your folks in their own home or living with you? I'm a long distance caregiver for my folks. They're still in their home for now and I spend quite a bit of time there. The doc appointments drive me bug sh*t! And the docs could care less about accommodating old people with appointment times, long waits In crappy waiting rooms and so on....I've dealt with some great docs But most of these guys are so self important and arrogant. This is one of the many reasons I could never do what you are doing. My folks will go to assited living when they can no longer live on their own. I don't mean in any way to judge it's just my personal choice.
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