As children, our parents diligently and lovingly care for us. They make sure we are safe, secure, and loved if we are lucky. I came from a single-family household with my father and paternal grandmother raising me. During this time, it was not the norm for a man to raise a child alone. I am aware of how blessed I am that my dad chose to be a parent when my other parent opted out.
So, when my dad got sick, there was never a doubt in my mind that I would take care of him. Caring for a loved one if you can do it is the best thing for the person receiving care. For me, there was never a question.
Becoming a caregiver is probably the most unselfish thing you can do. It is also the most taxing thing you can do. I had no idea until I tackled it myself.
I helped my dad care for my grandmother when she was ill ten years ago before she passed away with heart disease. She had been sick for a long time, so we were very prepared for her passing.
My father’s sickness came on quick, he declined swiftly, and he was so sick in the process. The impact of stomach cancer is probably the worse thing a person could endure. It is additionally horrible to witness daily as well.
Becoming a caregiver sounds like you are doing this great thing, and you are. However, the toll it takes on you is both physically taxing, emotionally draining, and psychologically nightmarish. Stomach cancer is particularly horrible because the stomach is no longer doing the job that it should, so caregivers have to handle everything that goes along with that.
So as you are dealing with being the caregiver, you also have to handle your own life, like work, kids and more. So you have an additional layer of labor-intensive duties you are responsible for in addition to your life. Quite frankly, it is the most exhausting thing that you will ever encounter.
As my dads declined, the expectations of, myself as the caregiver increased. My dad had a visiting nurse, home health aide, and physical therapist. When they were not here, I had to cook, clean up, and care for his health needs. It was extremely exhausting, and it took a toll on my body.
As my dad got weaker, he was no longer able to move without help. He needed assistance to move up in his bed, so my son and I had to physically move him. If he needed to go to the restroom, we had to take him and hold him up.
As he grew weaker and weaker, we had to do more. Toward the end, my son had upper shoulder pain, and I had thrown my back out. As a caregiver, you are the lifeline to the ill, but by the end, you need a lifeline.
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