Am I a bad person?


I feel terrible. So my grandpa has been paralyzed since I was born. And just 6 years my grandmother, his caregiver, passed away and we had to find someone else. She did for a few years but then she left. Caregivers just quit left and right. He doesn't want to go in a home and we are trying our best to keep it that way. But it is exhausting. I just graduated nursing school and I want to be a nurse so I feel my family just puts this on me. But I have my own husband and want to leave this town. I love my grandpa and would be devastated if anything happened. He is so kind, even though stubborn, and I know it isn't his fault but lately I just feel like I don't care anymore. Every time I am over at his house I am just checked out. I feel TERRIBLE. I feel like I don't deserve anything if I just decided to leave and put the burden on my family. (I feel bad calling him a burden.) I feel like I would make a bad nurse if I can't even take of him. My brain is just hurting. I have my nclex coming up and I am also supposed to go back to school in about a month and I just feel like I need to put it off even though I don't want to. I'm at a loss. But it feels great to actually express my feelings. I do get paid for some hours becuase I just do that now 24/7 and it makes me feel bad becuase of that. But I don't even care to get paid. I just want to leave my city and start a life somewhere else. I had a breakdown last night, just lying in my closet crying my eyes out becuase I feel stuck here. I don't know what to do.

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I'm going to repeat what others have said. Caring for a totally bedridden person IS a huge burden, especially when the majority of work falls on one person. He needs to be in a SNF. There are actually decent ones out there, it just takes diligence to find one. Also, to ensure good care, family members have to visit him at the SNF daily!

Dear Nicolemarieu,

Please know I hear where you are coming from. You sound like such a nice and caring person and I think that is where our downfall is sometimes. We are too nice and our family just takes advantage of us.

It is all right to stand up for yourself. No good can come of things when we feel burnt out and resentful about caring for a loved one. Its a sign to make changes and soon. You are a young woman entitled to make her choices and to live her own life.

We often think the world will stop just because we stand up ourselves. But its not true. There are options available to your grandpa and other family members. You do not have to do all their bidding for them.

I know its a lot easier said then done but I hope you will follow Sue's suggestions.

I say FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS! This is what I tell my kids, they can choose to or not, it's completely their call. Yes, it would be easier, but for who? I think being that you want to go into that field of work, that you are being used. Get out while you can, imo.

Xenajada . I watched my aunt worn down to nothing caring for my abusive alcoholic uncle. He was a massive massive pill, would pitch a fit if she did anything other than go to the store for food. When she became too ill to continue care, he was placed in a NH
She finally thought she'd have a chance to enjoy a little life of her own, but she was so
worn down she lasted only a year. A year of stress induced illness. It was so sad to see.

You're young and starting out in life. Your grandpa is older and bedridden and his life
is now quite small. You sound very isolated as the sole caregiver. Who wouldn't feel
burned out? Caregivers from agencies work in 8 hours shifts. Live in care givers are
likewise supposed to have breaks, get out do something else. As a professional nurse
you would social contact with other RN's patients, doctors, etc. Perhaps I'm wrong here,
but I don't see how being the sole caregiver for your grandfather will help your career in any way.

Please don’t give up your dreams of being a Nurse. You are burned out & need to live your life. If Gramps was in his right mind, that’s what he would tell you, too!

Interesting that Grandpa is paralyzed, which usually brings with it an endless list of health issues, yet he outlived Grandma! Why do you suppose that is? Because the stress of endless caregiving wears down the caregiver. I've seen patients outlive their caregivers many, many times, particularly when there is ONE caregiver doing it all. It is a 24/7 job and there is extreme emotional stress when it is a close family member. Your grandfather has been very fortunate, but now is the time for a new chapter. Just go. Your family will likely put him in a NH cause they don't want to be doing the caregiving - which is why they are guilting you.

Nichole do not run away.
You owe it to yourself and family to pass the NCLEX. Do it ASAP while your education is still fresh in your mind and go back to school especially if it involves getting your BSN. The days of getting by with an Associates are rapidly disappearing. The best jobs ago to BSN.
Realistically you need some or should I say quite a lot of experience under your belt as a nurse before taking care of someone towards the end of life if you are not to get exhausted and overwhelmed.
i am sure you love Gpa dearly but you are not one of his children if you are thinking of having to care for ones elders. Where are your parents in this? They should be taking on the responsibility of the caregiving or placement in a facility if that is appropriate.
Don't brush it off by saying, my parents have important jobs and can't take the time off or they have just retired and deserve their leisure. Of course they do but so do you . Don't say your sister can't do it because her kids are little and she could never change diapers.
Face the fact that everyone has equal rights and you can't do it either. it is not going to get better so get over it and put yourself in the same box as everyone else. Your needs are just as great. Grandpa has rights too and that includes staying in his own home but if he can't make it happen he has to accept other arrangements.
As I said at the beginning don't just run away that won't solve anything or ease the guilt. You are a professional now so approach it from that point of view and look at what you might advise a friend to do.
Most of the younger caregivers who come on here write because they are desperate to get out of their current situation.

Nicolemarieu, bravo for becoming a nurse. You need to remember that taking care of patients in a hospital or a doctor's office is very different emotionally compared to taking care of Grandpa.

For one, when you are working as a nurse your work hours would be probably 8 hours or 12 hours per day, and then you can go home and be refreshed for the next day. And you are paid for those hours and probably have benefits such a health insurance, etc.

As for your Grandpa not wanting to go into a "home", if he is in his 80's or 90's, back then the "home" was the county asylum. Such places were dark dank places with unsmiling faces. Today's continuing care [don't call them nursing homes in front of Grandpa] are more like hotels. One positive, Grandpa would be around people closer to his age group. Usually people who have memory issues are placed in their own wing, thus Grandpa would be those who have issues with mobility but are still very sharp. You need to go tour these places.

Now, it depends on what Grandpa can budget from his retirement fund, or if he has a house with a lot of equity that he could sell. That is important before you run all over town checking out facilities. My Dad's assisted living was costing him $7k per month but we are in a high cost of housing area. If Grandpa can't budget, then check with Grandpa's State Medicaid office to see if Grandpa can be accepted. Medicaid will pay for room/board and care at a nursing home.

Who is/are Grandpa's financial and medical Power of Attorney? Time to sit down with them and quietly explain you are moving on to do your nursing career, thus Grandpa will need others from the family to help. Then you can pull out your notes on "continuing care" facilities. If the family tries to keep you there, just say "sorry, I can't possibly do that". Repeat that in the mirror as often as you can until it feels like second nature.

Nicole, I'm very sorry for your stress. It sounds like you love your grandpa and have done a great job looking after him. But, sometimes things get overwhelming no matter how much you love and care for someone, and there is no shame in taking care of and doing what you have to do for yourself also.

It sounds like your grandpa would be better somewhere where he had a 24/7 round the clock staff, particularly if he is bedridden. I know many elders are resistant to going into nursing care facilities, but sometimes it's like with a little kid that hates going to the doctor, if that is what's best for them and their health and they need someone to be there 24 hours to make sure they are safe, then it wouldn't be good for them not to go. Plus you and your family could still know that he is okay and well-cared for and not have to worry about when he's alone.

Congratulations on completing your nursing school, that is a big accomplishment. I echo what others have said about focusing on studying for and taking the NCLEX now, while the training is still fresh in your mind. It will make it easier to pass now vs. the longer time passes. Things change so quickly with health care that you want to get the jump on it before they go and revamp the questions.

I know first hand the mental and physical toll it takes to care for someone round the clock, especially being married. We are currently looking for alternative care arrangements for my mom too because like you I just can't keep doing this, and it's not fair to my husband or kids that we hardly have a moment to ourselves or that doesn't involve somehow taking care of mom. But there are some good places available where she will get good care, we just have to find the right one.

I think it would help rather than hurt your grandpa and family to seek outside care. That way you all can visit grandpa often, stay in touch with the staff to check in on how he's doing, and just be able to enjoy your visits with him without feeling like you want to bang your head against the wall.

Hugs to you, I know this is not easy.