Dear Caregivers, I've been almost single-handedly taking care of my two parents, early 90s, both with some form of dementia, for 2+ years. I'm also responsible for the care and well-being of 2 very old dogs. My husband lives here as well, and does help out as best he can, though he's still working.
I reluctantly agreed to "let" him go hunting with buddies today, although I am quite sick. He thinks he "deserves" the trip...2 hours away in the bush, out of cell phone range. I am currently undergoing testing for suspected autoimmune disease, and have tried to let him know (over at least the last month) how I feel and what I'm capable of doing and what I am not. He says he "understands". I have a brother who lives half an hour away, and he agreed to take our parents for the afternoon.
I was supposed to have a break, a day of rest, but today turned into anything but. My brother was late arriving and spent an hour here "visiting" (while I filled him in on all the parent's current needs and demands). Then I tried to eat something, which didn't go down well, before leashing up the dogs for their walk. Our old house only has deadbolt locks, and on my way out the door into below freezing temperatures and snow, I checked twice to be certain I had the house keys. Well, I got back home to find I had car keys; no house keys. I do this kind of thing when I'm stressed and sick, which is why I tried to tell my family I needed help. Not to be left alone. I had to call my brother back into town to unlock the house. That meant 40 minutes sitting outside in the cold (with 13 and 14 yr old dogs).
I use "I" statements when talking about me and my health, and as I said, get replies like "okay" or "uh-huh". But they don't hear or aren't listening. Nine hours later, my husband still isn't home. I've fixed dinner for my parents; answered the same two questions over and over again, jumped up and down to locate "lost" canes the old folks "lost" in the bathroom. And I've lost my temper too many times. It's far from the first time I've felt abandoned to all the responsibilities when feeling sick. Lab tests have so far confirmed positive Antinuclear titres and I'm scheduled for a biopsy in two weeks. But I still get, "I understand, I have a sore foot" responses.
What do I have to do, beg? Kiss their behinds? My doctor is looking for lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. How do I get my needs across to my damned family?