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DH (87) has dementia. Quite severe. Also Parkinsonism and in a wheelchair. I'm very lucky in that I have round-the-clock caregivers who do everything for him. But today he woke with a fever and cough. I acted like a grown-up, called the doctor's office, nurse practitioner saw him right away, ordered cough med, antibiotic, gave us the usual advice you give somebody with an upper respiratory infection. We brought him home, put him in bed, I went and picked up the Rx at the pharmacy, came home, and...I'm just EXHAUSTED--emotionally! I go to a dementia caregivers support group where everyone else is much earlier in the process and they have very difficult problems--financial, legal, family opposition, health problems of their own, angry behavior from their loved ones--in comparison our life is smooth. I'm usually pretty cool, calm and collected. I have so many advantages... Hubby is happy, funny, playful, affectionate, generally healthy. But right now he's sick and I feel so helpless! I feel as if I stopped breathing this morning when the caregiver told me he had a fever, and I haven't yet taken a breath and it's 7 p.m. Just because I have help doesn't mean that this whole trip isn't devastating. And that becomes obvious when he's sick like this.

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Oh,gosh, Supe. I understand perfectly where you’re coming from. As a matter of fact, my husband is sick today too. I work in the baby room of a daycare and was sick with “baby germs” all weekend. When I came home yesterday, he informed me that now, he had “it”. Only, it seems to be more than just a cold and since he’s bed bound and I can’t get him out, I’ve had to call for the visiting nurse practitioner to come tomorrow. I am very afraid he’s having a relapse of Congestive Heart Failure.

I am emotionally exhausted and have been for longer than I can remember. At a time in my life when I should be relaxing and enjoying my grandsons, I’m working to help pay bills so we can keep our house, taking care of hubby and just generally running 100% of the show. I completely understand what you’re saying. All I can say is enjoy the small things. Take pleasure in sunny days, fresh laundry, a nice glass of wine, anything you can find to warm your heart. With me, it’s my grandkids and my dog. Hope your hubby feels better fast!
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I don’t believe in the saying “ I complained that I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet”
each persons problem/challenge in life is their own. It’s happening just to them. Please don’t compare your situation with another’s. That’s a one way guilt trip Yes, there are plenty of others doing it really tough with little help but that’s them. You are compassionate but don’t apologise or feel bad
we are keeping all the balls in the air and sometimes we drop them
I used to run a plumbing business with my husband and then I had to get a job scrubbing toilets in a factory three nights a week to get the bills paid. Did it for 12 months
emotional exhaustion. For sure. I went a little bit nuts for a while.
You will be OK.
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NeedHelpWithMom May 22, 2019
I hate that saying too, Panda because it kind of discounts what a person is going through. So what if a person has something to a lesser degree? They are still hurting.

Thanks for bringing this to everyone’s attention. I appreciate it. Helps me to clearly see how there can always be more than one point of view.

I get sick of debating or bickering. Allow everyone to have their own view. Sure we can all state why we have our view but then understand others are entitled to their opinion no matter what it is. It can be dumb, stupid, ignorant, whatever...it’s their right to feel as they do. Unless it is a danger to others, so be it.

Good for you, Panda. When I was younger I did what you did, worked very hard, worked two jobs when I had to. Know what? It made us stronger. We didn’t break. It didn’t kill us. I was dead tired. My friends complained that they didn’t get to hang out with me because I worked all the time. I simply said that I had bills to pay.
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Oh my gosh.....yes, there is. And don’t discount it for a moment. Although certainly a far cry from being a full time care giver to my 89 yr. old mom, my time with her only adds to an already full plate. Caring for grand babies, helping my adult daughter with severe RA, and a husband with heart failure and a host of other ailments. And from reading posts and answers from this sight, I am hardly unique. Others are FAR more consumed. Please find a way to step back and take a much needed break. Just because you are fortunate and have wonderful help, chronic illness of your LO takes a heavy toll emotionally. You need time to reboot. We’ve all been there. Self preservation is mandatory.

And as a footnote for those whose remarks that are less than helpful.....people reach out because they are looking for answers, insights, and advise for oftentimes overwhelming situations. I believe this forum is to be helpful to those sharing their experience.....and not to pass judgement with snide remarks. My humble opinion.
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EnduringLife May 24, 2019
Absolutely Abby. you are so right.
Self preservation is paramount to not only our own well being, but to how well we care for others.
Also, upsets me to see the judgemental comments. Not everyone's experience is the same; it doesn't mean they aren't just as in need of empathy and kindness!
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Emotionally exhausted, is very real, we are basically parenting very large kiddos. So,caring for anyone with adult sized needs, is exhausting. Hugs. adulting in general is tiresome.
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Google "Compassion Fatigue." It's real. I learned about it from my sister who is an RN. I bet 100% of us on this forum can relate to it. I know I certainly do! I'm starting my 8th year taking care of my MIL. NYDaughterinLaw also mentioned compassion fatigue in her response to you.

Briefly:

"Non-workers, such as family members and other informal caregivers of people who are suffering from a chronic illness, may also experience compassion fatigue. It was first diagnosed in nurses in the 1950s. People who experience compassion fatigue can exhibit several symptoms including hopelessness, a decrease in experiences of pleasure, constant stress and anxiety, sleeplessness or nightmares, and a pervasive negative attitude. This can have detrimental effects on individuals, both professionally and personally, including a decrease in productivity, the inability to focus, and the development of new feelings of incompetency and self-doubt."

Do all you can to pace yourself and care for yourself. This stuff isn't easy.

Sending warm fuzzies! :-)
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Psalms23 May 24, 2019
Thanks. Never heard of it. This is how I feel. I am going mad and I feel like I can't push anymore. I have had it and see no light at the end of the tunnel.... Thanks again for sharing this.
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Superstring,

Well, of course you're emotionally exhausted! Your DH depends on you for so much, and you love him. And now he's ill!

In this life there are some of that just roll with it. They take things in stride. I'm not one of them, and you may not be either. Any change, good or bad, takes the stuffing out of me. I get rattled at just about everything and it exhausts me.

A homeopath once told me that cortisol produced by stress depletes us of adrenaline, leaving us exhausted. I suspect physical exercise would help this. You may want to ask your doctor about adrenal support. I probably should, too!
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I am like that everyday and physically exhausted. My husband has PSP which is a
brain disorder. No cure, no medicine to take. He can hardly walk, have to dress him, shower him, make him breakfast lunch and dinner and bring it to him. I finally got hospice in here to help a little. I am 70 yrs old and it has been exhausting. To see him going downhill all the time. I have to do everything as he can do little.
I am a full time caregiver as I cannot afford to bring someone in and I do not want
to put in a home. I try to keep positive everyday and know that he is going thru alot more then I am. He is a kind, wonderful man and i try to do everything I can for him. Try to keep your chin up and know he does not want to be this way or put an extra burden on him. Enjoy the time you have left with him and know that you did everything you could for him. God Bless
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LexiPexi May 25, 2019
My husband has PSP also. He will be 75 in June and was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2002. Your story sounds like mine. People ask me why I continue to do it. I just can't put him in to a facility or group home either. There are two books 'Ambiguous Loss' and 'The 36-hour Day' - that are pretty good. I don't have much time to read, but get to them every so often.
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Agree with 'emotional exhaustion', it certainly is prevalent in caregivers. Probably a much more accurate term for us than the word "depressed" ! Thanks.
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Thank you so much everybody for responding! Your kindness and support really have given me a lift. Earlier today he was so sick, he couldn't even hold his head up and his jaw was just hanging open and drooling and his cough was awful. But now he's sitting up and has eaten something and had some fluids. It's hard for me to just let the caregivers take care of him and go take care of other responsibilities. And yet, if I just keep orbiting him, I get more and more anxious. Oh yes, I forgot to say that I got sick at the end of last month and it turned into pneumonia, which I'm just getting over now. Maybe that has something to do with it ha ha. I'm easing back into my daily walks which always help.
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EnduringLife May 24, 2019
Glad to hear he's better....and you too! Pneumonia is no easy illness to battle under the best of circumstances.
(((hugs)))
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Several hugs being sent your way. Are YOU getting out a little bit, buying yourself a “toy” now and then, taking phone calls from nice people?

My mother would get an occasional cold or bronchitis while in residential care, and no matter how old she was at the time it would be excruciating for me until she was well again.

The whole process of living with the care of a loved one imbues one with the unceasing weight of constant responsibility, constant cortisol/adrenaline, constantly painful concern. Being there for your DH, WHETHER HANDS ON OR NOT, drains your reserves and lessens your attention to your own needs.

My life has changed, for the better, since I’ve reconnected with my youthful passion for music and begun to play the tuba.
May you find a glimpse of “tuba” in your life today!
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Tiger55 May 23, 2019
Tuba, that's 😎 cool!
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