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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Care for the Caregiver

I am often not very good at compartmentalizing.   It’s one thing to feel empathy for someone else and offering to do what you can to help, and another thing to take on another’s problems to the point of making yourself sick or worsening something that’s already there.  My stomach and pain issues intensify by 10 when I worry too much and unfortunately, I am very good at worrying.

Pam’s news wasn’t good; it’s cancer.  But she is handling it very well and goes to the doctor tomorrow to see what the options are.  I gave her a blank journal I had that I have never used and told her to write her questions to the doctor in it, and then journal her journey.

I saw my healer today and for the first time, she was unable to move some energy around my stomach and back.  Also for the first time, she said if it didn’t clear up by next week, to see my doctor.  That kind of scares me.  She’s not anti-western medicine; she’s very much into balancing the two.  But my stomach and back and hip are all very painful and it’s harder and harder to empty my bowels even with the laxatives.  She said Miralax should not cause gas but something is causing it. 

I cried my eyes out when I got home from there.  Pam was here, cleaning, and I went into my room to lie down.  I never lay on my bed during the day.  Well, almost never.  I sobbed, I prayed, I bargained.  I begged to be released.  And in between I got glimpses of the fact that this is my life and I best make the most of it, even if it feels like nothing good ever happens in it.  I want to hear about my friend’s ivies, their travels, their work, etc.  And I know it’s far from being all good.  But sometimes it’s hard to hear and I feel selfish.  I want to be at my sisters when she has a party for her daughter’s high school graduation, but I doubt I’ll be able to go.  I want to be able to go see my dad a few times a week after he moves here, but I can’t drive.  He was going to give up driving but has since changed his mind….because of me.  He wants to be able to come see me, and he is in bad shape physically too.  Spinal stenosis.  I want to see him but it’s a 40 minute drive for heaven’s sake.  And that’s in good traffic.

Pam used to talk all the time about how you would “think by now” there would be something out there to deal with the kind of pain I live in.  Well, there is stuff out there, but prescribing it is a problem.   I don’t think doctors keep from prescribing it because they are afraid it will kill the patient (from a personal point of view); they are afraid of being sued by the family.   Even when Ted was dying they weren’t giving him enough although he asked for comfort care.  Literally, it was the night before he passed that they finally did something that made a difference.  Unreal.  “First do no harm” includes not keeping people in agony when you can ease their suffering.

It is my humble opinion that the bottom line to fixing this healthcare stuff IS the bottom line.  That being, there is no money in wellness.  Not the kind of money there is in keeping people sick.  Keeping them in pain.  Keeping them wanting for more.  Now there’s the ticket.

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