I had my annual physical a few days ago. I told the doctor I mostly feel like I have an elephant on my chest. He says he hears that all the time from caregivers and I should take care of myself. He then patted my shoulder and left. Friends tell me to get someone to clean my house or do other household chores. What I want and need is a husband, so I am not the one climbing the ladder to the attic, unclogging the drain, dealing with the excavation men, etc. This seems like a vicious circle that is never-ending rounds of frustration and stress and I can't see anything easing until he gets really bad and is put in a facility. In the meantime, I am overwhelmed. A nothing situation ignites a fire because I have nothing left as a reserve of manners, kindness, reason to weather another situation. It is just me and I have no safe place to fall or shoulder to lean on. I miss his strength, his knowledge, his business acumen. I find myself envying widows. They can do what they want and when they want and our friends take care of them because their husbands are gone. My husband is gone too, but this is not who I married nor who I would chose to live with. He has Parkinson's and is in the beginning stages of dementia. Right now, he does pull it together when we are with other people so no one can really appreciate or understand what I am going through. I spend my days and nights being miserable and resentful and being eaten up by these feelings. I was recently told that people can handle being around cancer patients and have sympathy, but someone that has had a stroke or in my case Parkinson's, makes them feel uncomfortable. I see this and I understand it, especially when we are dining and watching him eat. Taking care of myself is just another thing on the list that I have to figure out how to manage. I used to be so good at organization and keeping all my ducks in a row and I am juggling and dropping the balls now and it has sunk in that I just can't do it all. Taking care of me comes last at the end of a very long and mostly demanding day.