Day 47- Dear Diary

Dear diary,

I hate being sick.  Woke up this am and my throat was killing me and my head is all stuffed up.  Not a great way to start the weekend.  Not that we have anything planned, besides my husband working. Poor guy, he works the worse hours and the worse days.  I can count on one hand the christmas’ that he has been home and not working in the last 12 years.  Welcome to the life of a police wife.

My husband, E, has been here for every step of my journey with chronic pain.  He has held my hand before surgery and even more afterwards.  He has been my advocate, my therapist, my doctor, and at times he has had to help me get through sobriety.  I wouldn’t have made it this far without him.  I’m so glad and thankful that he is my best friend. And at times, he has been there more for me than anyone else that I allow to walk this path with me.  I’m very lucky and hope that everyone out there with chronic pain has that support team that I’ve so much talked about. I thought tonight I would post about what a family member needs to be apart of a support group for the patient and what is the best way to be that support.

Chronic pain doesn’t just affect one person in the family.  It can take down a whole family.  Telling people “no, not today, I’m in pain” isn’t as affected as screaming and yelling with every twinge of pain.  I can’t imagine being on the other side of this monster.  If someone would tell me that they are in pain, I’m not sure I  would 100% believe them. At least I think that way before I was thrown into this tailspin of a life with chronic pain.

I was talking to my uncle the other night about him being a caregiver to my aunt with Alzheimer’s.  He was saying that for the most part they are in a routine, but he himself, doesn’t take care of himself.  Number 1 rule of being a caregiver is, always take care of your needs and yourself.  Being a sole caregiver that if you don’t, who will take care of the patient when the caregiver is down and out.  Here is an interesting information I was reading about a family and a chronic pain patient.

There is proof that family support is crucial to treating chronic pain, but often the caregivers suffer and lose their ability to cope when an illness is chronic. A recent blog on the special challenges a mother faces when caring for sick children could actually be applied to anyone living with a chronic pain patient. Families may not have to explain the illness or the treatments to older chronic pain patients, but many of the challenges are similar. How can families be supported so that they are able to aid in the treatment of their loved one?”

In the same article there were four areas that the writer felt was needed for a caregiver to be successful in caring for a loved one. I ve already mentioned one, about taking care of themselves but here is the list.

  1. Patient and caregiver need to remember the other side that they are on.  The caregiver needs to try to understand what the patient is going through day in and day out. You know that saying “walk one day in my shoes” is true and import.  Remember where the other person is coming from and try to sympathise with them. Not pity, but more understanding.
  2. Remember to always take care of yourself no matter what side you are on.  The patient will feel better with the better care they are receiving but the caregiver will feel a sense of wholeness again when that person does what it is important to them  The patient must remember that the caregiver needs to do this and encourage that person to go and do what he/she needs. Never ever diminish or downplay the needs of the caregiver.  Patients need to remember, the caregiver is out of commission, who will be there when you need someone to be there.
  3. Find some sort of support group, there are even ones online.  A support group would help so many caregivers talk and deal with those emotions that comes along with being in that position.  It’s not a position to be taken lightly. And any time finding one that there are common grounds, the world won’t seem so small  anymore. Mayne being able to talk to others might make you feel like that issue or problem isn’t as bad as you thought it was in your head. Or maybe someone one else has a better way to handle a situation differently than the way you thought so in your head.
  4. Use the resources that are vast and plentiful out there.  There are resources for the patient and for the caregiver.  Use them and they might be extremely help in the journey of chronic pain.  There is a group that all caregivers should be a part of and that is Caregiver Action Network or CNA.  They can help with the need of a community for you and the caregiver. And they help with technological and practical resource.  It never hurts to just check them out.
  5. And lastly, talk with the doctors that are involved with the patient  They may know of more resources out there or a support group.  It’s worth a call.

There are resources that caregivers can use, they just need to use them.  At first, it won’t be easy and until they make the positive changes in their life to help with taking care of someone, their own life will improve too.

I wanted to leave you with this beautiful picture and saying. Hopefully this will help one caregiver and patient out there.

Until tomorrow…………….



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