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I have been ill for over a week. I am the only caregiver for my 83 year old husband and have been for three years. Thank goodness that I have been as healthy as I have been dispite a lung condition and diabetes. The VA doesn't think I need help. . .(that's going to change come my husband's June appt) I am 66 years old, don't look it, and don't pity myself for my medical conditions. But - this past week I have been sick. When everyone around thinks you can take care of yourself and the patient it is a burden when you fall ill. I have stocked up on easy to prepare meals, staples and medications. . .but, who helps you when you are ill? Sometimes do we just take on too much? Just wondering what others do when - as a caretaker - you get sick.

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Wow this one hits home for me as I have gone through the same thing. I have not did a good job tending to me..it is what it is. I do know that I am holding on - if not for my faith and the Good Lord helping me I would not of gotten this far. I believe my father is getting closer to leaving us and the pain is unbearable but I have to stand tall afterall what would they do without us. The other night my father grabbed gently my face and stared in my eyes like never before and told me he was dying. It was a heartwrenching moment. I cuddled him and stroked hi hair and I said No Daddy not now - when God is ready...Lord it has been a trying two nights and days and I feel it coming..maybe I am wrong. I know I am exhausted but like I said I stand tall when Daddy can not fight any more I will fighting for him - If my son was not here to help this past years I do not know what I would do without him. I like the alone time with Dad because others come in and want to try and mess up what you know and what you have been doing day n and day out 24/7. I think when it gets closer it is more pronounced. I am going to pray for you to make a decision to do what is right for both of you. I too have stress, disabilities and anxiety but all the meds in the world will not cure this heartache...try to be strong for you first and then your loved one. Ask for help and know if you can not do it you can not do it. Do not beat yourself up about it. Not everyone can take on this roll and for those of us that have taken it on..we all know too well how draining it can be. I told my father I will not rest until he is at Rest...in a literal sense of the word. I have great support from friends and my family. Not that they come here to help and that is okay. It is that prayer said over the phone and the calls to see how everything is going that mean more to me than anything. Bless you and keep calm as you can during all of this emotional roller coaster. Caretakers are Angels...
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Peg, I have 6 sibs and it's like pulling teeth to get help from them when I am sick! I usually have to pay someone for the daytime and hope Mom sleeps all night until they are back here in the morning. I had shoulder surgery 4 years ago and my sibs left me with 24 staples and a sling 4 days after my surgery. I had to help Mom up when she fell, and cook etc. for her while I was supposed to not be using my arm at all! If that was today with Mom in a wheelchair and unable to do anything for herself, I would not be able to care for her at all.
I;m assuming your husband is on Medicare, So any kind of respite care would have to be paid by you or a local eldercare service. Do you have a senior center in your town? If so, call them first and see if they can lead you in the right direction, They usually have someone on staff that knows all the local senior advocates. Many communities have services that provide respite caregivers when you need them. Depending on how ill your husband is, you may be able to get hospice in to help you get a break. Hope this helps.
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No family close by. . .but someone is going to get the message very soon that I am at my wit's end. That being the VA. After being sick for a week, it was past time to change the sheets and towels, etc., so I did five loads of laundry. Oh, just to have someone make my bed would have meant the world to me. Somewhere in my budget I will have to find the money to have someone come in during my illness. . .it just has to be. Yes, we will either die from exhaustion or end up in the hospital. . .hope all of you that responded are feeling better today. . .and I thank yo u for reading what I go on and on about. It's such a relief to have some place like this to get it all out!!!
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Father is the main caregiver and I took over when I got home from work. He never learned to change mom's pampers (bedridden). So, at nights, he's knocked out and I do her by myself. I would have such severe menstrual pains, full blown flu, etc...and I still did her by myself. When I text fam of next door, they help - one time - and that's it. I can't tell you the number of times I almost fainted from the pain. Pain to bend over, pain to pull, pain to even move at all. Sometimes, I cry from the pain and frustrations.

Father finally told next door to help when the home care nurse came and put an IV on me (for 6 weeks) due to a heart infection. And then there was the time he also called them when my stomach was in so much pain, I could barely walk or sit. Other than that, they don't help. I've recently sent them (all siblings) an SOS text that therapist said that I will die from exhaustion or end up in the hospital. No Response from Next Door. For the past 3 days, I have dizziness ALL day. Yesterday, any sudden movements, and the room spins. Today, I got heart palpitations. I do believe that I'm gong to crash - whether by nervous breakdown or a stroke or heart attack. Time is running out for me.
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The few times I was go-to-bed sick while I was caring for my husband I had a family member stay in the house, bring in food, etc.

It is really tough, isn't it? Very similar to being a single mom and getting sick. Or when both parents get the flu and the kids are already over it and rarin' to go. Somehow we all get by.

I hope you can convince the VA that it is time for some help.
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Do you have family close by? Kids? I'm sorry it's really a tough one to answer. I took my mom in and the stress of caring for her almost sent me crashing down. I was not getting sleep. My dear husband and my mom inlaw gave me the breaks I so desperately needed. Do you qualify for any type of respite? Check into the government funded programs. If there is one in your city.. The Area of Aging and Disabilities is great place to start. They will qualify you by income. I sure hope you get some rest. Good-luck and God bless.
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