I've finally had to admit that in the two years my mom has lived with me, I've spent more days burnt out than not. She is 94, with memory loss. Trying so hard to make her life better, and do a good job of caregiving, I've been stressed, irritated, struggling with disliking my mother and controlling my responses,and resenting the extreme shrinking of my own life.
This summer, I've taken stronger steps to take care of myself and my own health, making strong enough boundaries with my activities that I could be pain-free from my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms for several weeks. It was lovely to be able to take care of myself in this way!
Last month, she fell and broke her hip. The surgery went well, then she got pneumonia and was in ICU for two weeks. I was there several times a week and calling the nurses twice a day the other days to check on her. My own illness got worse, and I was in daily pain again, even more than before.
Now she's in rehab, sick for ten days with a nasty c-diff infection she got in the hospital. I made a commitment to stay home and rest until I could at least be pain-free. That means I haven't gone to see her in a full week. My daughter (the only other family in the area) went 5 days ago. I stay in touch with the nurse manager daily. I'm going tomorrow for a care meeting with doctor and PT.
Today, as my own physical pain is so much relieved, I am feeling all the guilt. I know intellectually it is not necessary for me to feel this way. She has both a cell phone and a phone on the table in her room, and she doesn't answer either one; that would be such a good solution to keep in touch. She knows how to call me, but she's probably been too sick to talk on the phone anyway as she can hardly stay awake and has been sleeping all the time.
My mind and heart both tell me it's OK to take care of myself, that I will see her tomorrow, and that she will call me when she is ready to connect. Somebody else I'm used to listening to inside myself keeps telling me it's NOT OK AT ALL! Maybe my inner kids, who believe they HAVE TO make my mom's life better whenever she is even a little distressed.....
Anyway, I'm so glad to be here because I know I'm hardly the only one feeling this way!!!! Your thoughts and experiences on healthy boundaries and "yes" to self most welcome.