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You Might Be A Caregiver If.......

AnnaLeigh's picture
AnnaLeigh
Posts: 177
Joined: Jan 2010

You feel like smacking the next person who says "Boy, you really look tired".

You make life and death decisions with a snap of your fingers but you need 30 minutes to select an item from a dinner menu.

You can rattle of the generic and brand names of medications and the family they belong to quicker than the nurse.

Going to the grocery store feels like a mini-vacation.

Caregivers - tell us your version !!!!!!!!!

nancyann3
Posts: 196
Joined: Mar 2010

You can count calories in your head while at work.

Convert ML's into ounces

and know where all the sales are on boost and which flavors each store has.

bingles
Posts: 120
Joined: Mar 2010

Jello is a major food group...
Their nap time is your nap time....
You have the softest hands in town from all the lotions you applied..
"how was your night" is the first words out of your mouth in the morning.

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1560
Joined: Nov 2009

Let me see what I can add to this. Thanks for the smile and the laugh!

You get excited when they have a bowel movement

You get excited when their urine is pale yellow....you know they are hydrated!

What is your pain level from #1 to # 10 is the question of the day!

Tina (Loved every minute of being my dad's caregiver from 11/08 to 3/9/10) May you now rest in peace, and never be asked your pain level # again!!

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1560
Joined: Nov 2009

Let me see what I can add to this. Thanks for the smile and the laugh!

You get excited when they have a bowel movement...hooray for no constipation!

You get excited when their urine is pale yellow....you know they are hydrated!

What is your pain level from #1 to # 10 is the question of the day!

Tina (Loved every minute of being my dad's caregiver from 11/08 to 3/9/10) May you now rest in peace, and never be asked your pain level # again!!

ketziah35
Posts: 1150
Joined: Jun 2010

...And granola bars!

webozo's picture
webozo
Posts: 82
Joined: Feb 2010

when people ask what kind of cancer you loved one has and when you answer they look at you like you are speaking a different language.
when you have thought about anything unrelated to cancer scence oh heck i don't remember
when you have more meds on your kitchen table than there are in the drug store

AnnaLeigh's picture
AnnaLeigh
Posts: 177
Joined: Jan 2010

You have to turn off the spell check and auto correct function on your computer because you know exactly how to spell the names of chemo drugs and your word processing dictionary does not recognize them and therefore marks them as errors.

david54
Posts: 115
Joined: Apr 2009

Dave’s Top ten things he gets tired of hearing as a caregiver

1. From her friends, “She looks great! Are you sure she’s that sick?” (Nah-I’ve been making this crap up the past 2 and a half years just for the hell of it)
2. From well meaning other friends, “I don’t know how I would handle life if I was in you’re situation” (Just what does that mean? Wow that makes me feel a hell of a lot better!))
3. From well meaning acquaintances, “I prayed for both of you last night. God told me she will be healed.” (Want to sign your name to that?)
4. From our beautiful daughter, “Hey dad, can you send me money for my books for next semester? By the way, how’s mom?” (Sure sweetheart, let me go out to the money tree and yank a few hundred off the branches)
5. From my wife, “Can you buy me some Ensure at Wal-Mart, paper towels at Safeway, prune juice at Rite Aide, and Odwalla at the health food store?” (By the time I finish driving all over town did I really save money on those items?)
6. From the hospital – the bill always come to our address in big bold letters so the mail man obviously knows we owe money “David _ _ _ _ you now owe $$$$$$ and we will do all we can to assist you with this financial obligation, have a nice day.” (Yea, you have a nice day too and I hope you have a hemorrhoid that flares up)
7. From anybody who doesn’t know what else to say, “You still have a lot to be grateful for, just live for today.” (Sound words of advice, but until you’re in my situation, I don’t really want to hear that, particularly when you are leaving for Hawaii tomorrow – I hope you jet sucks up volcano dust, just enough so that you have to land in Houston for a week)
8. From my wife while eating lasagna for dinner “My BM was brown last night!” (As opposed to grey when her liver is acting up – its just the timing of your comment that’s a little off sweetheart)
9. Again from well meaning friends, family, acquaintances, not always in this order but generally a heretofore newly discover juicing regimen,” Grape juice, Acai, Blueberry Juice, and bananas cured me of my ailments, it might help her”
(What it cured you of was constipation, not cancer!)
10. And last but not least-“You really need to take care of yourself emotionally, spiritually, and physically so you can be there for your wife.” (Okay- you are right. Give me your ticket to Hawaii, Disneyworld, Italy, even Tahoe, and you stay here for 10 days and I will come back much healthier)

Thanks for this guys-venting helps.

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1560
Joined: Nov 2009

David,
Thanks for your post! It is great! Hope you both do have a better day, now that you got all of this off your chest!
Tina

AKAngel's picture
AKAngel
Posts: 74
Joined: Mar 2010

My word, I can't believe that laughing and crying aren't one word anymore. Thank you for posting almost everything I've heard over the months my mom's been through cancer. My mom actually thinks from the other room that I'm laughing with happiness....she likes hearing me laugh.
And my additions to this thread....
You might be a caregiver if you feel guilty for laughing when you need to not cry.
You might be a caregiver if you are the only one in the house that's afraid to take a pill knowing that you can't be unconscious for one moment that you're home, or that any moment you do leave something may happen.
Yes it does help to vent...but only a little.

AnnaLeigh's picture
AnnaLeigh
Posts: 177
Joined: Jan 2010

You arrive home after picking up all of the prescriptions for your loved one and realize that you haven't refilled your own meds.

panks
Posts: 36
Joined: Feb 2010

you have learned how to sleep with one ear and one eye open..
you want to scream at the next person that remarks on the stupid weather..
you start making a game out of meals
you take the prescription 2 weeks before he needs it because you know they wont have it in stock.
you rub his hair gently while hes asleep and think lord how I love you and am going to miss you.

(For my loving husband Dale passed away on 3/19/2010. I would do all this again and so much more)

ruthelizabeth
Posts: 146
Joined: May 2009

You may be a caregiver if

you resent the kids breezing in and saying, "Dad looks great!"

you stifle a scream when they say, "Just think positive and stay strong."

people suggest you feed your loved one pureed asparagus to cure him (If it worked, the drs would be out of business.)

you find yourself arguing in whispers while your loved one is napping, trying to figure out why the credit card company passed the funeral prearrangement charges, but insist the gravestone is possible fraud. (A yacht, maybe. Trip to Europe, could be. Gravestone?!?!)

his son can't give the suppository because the gloves are too small for him, but they magically fit when he has to clean up the bed.

the oncologist's nurse can't refill the prescription for a longer time to save you money unless you make a new appointment. YOu both know he won't make it in, but you engage in the polite charade of setting a new day and time.

you go outside and it's sunny and blue and breezy and it feels like a foreign country.

ruthelizabeth
Posts: 146
Joined: May 2009

You may be a caregiver if

you resent the kids breezing in and saying, "Dad looks great!"

you stifle a scream when they say, "Just think positive and stay strong."

people suggest you feed your loved one pureed asparagus to cure him (If it worked, the drs would be out of business.)

you find yourself arguing in whispers while your loved one is napping, trying to figure out why the credit card company passed the funeral prearrangement charges, but insist the gravestone is possible fraud. (A yacht, maybe. Trip to Europe, could be. Gravestone?!?!)

his son can't give the suppository because the gloves are too small for him, but they magically fit when he has to clean up the bed.

the oncologist's nurse can't refill the prescription for a longer time to save you money unless you make a new appointment. YOu both know he won't make it in, but you engage in the polite charade of setting a new day and time.

you go outside and it's sunny and blue and breezy and it feels like a foreign country.

for a brief moment you find yourself looking longingly at his anti-anxiety med

ruthelizabeth
Posts: 146
Joined: May 2009

You may be a caregiver if

you resent the kids breezing in and saying, "Dad looks great!"

you stifle a scream when they say, "Just think positive and stay strong."

people suggest you feed your loved one pureed asparagus to cure him (If it worked, the drs would be out of business.)

you find yourself arguing in whispers while your loved one is napping, trying to figure out why the credit card company passed the funeral prearrangement charges, but insist the gravestone is possible fraud. (A yacht, maybe. Trip to Europe, could be. Gravestone?!?!)

his son can't give the suppository because the gloves are too small for him, but they magically fit when he has to clean up the bed.

the oncologist's nurse can't refill the prescription for a longer time to save you money unless you make a new appointment. YOu both know he won't make it in, but you engage in the polite charade of setting a new day and time.

you go outside and it's sunny and blue and breezy and it feels like a foreign country.

for a brief moment you find yourself looking longingly at his anti-anxiety med

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1560
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Panks,
I just read your post, and wanted to send you my heartfelt sympathies. I lost my dad to esophageal cancer on 3/9/10. I totally can relate to the rubbing of his hair. I brushed my dad's hair the afternoon of the evening he passed away, not knowing this would be the last time I ever would. I miss him daily, I cry weekly, but I know he is in a much better place. He and Dale will meet and spend eternity together. He always loved the name Dale, he was a huge Dale Ernhardt fan! Hugs to you.
Tina

panks
Posts: 36
Joined: Feb 2010

I still cry daily. But I really am trying to get my life together. I feel so selfish, because I would love just one more time to walk in the house and hear him say "I'm so glad your home I missed you today"I'm sure he has everyone in heaven laughing right now, he had such a sense of humor even to the end he asked my brother two days before he passed away if he was trying to bore him to death with a story he was telling.I truly believe there are no tears in heaven so I think they can only see the good things that will happen to us. God bless you with the strenght to carry on.

Panks

lilli1020
Posts: 114
Joined: Jul 2010

Hahahaahaha....you made my day!

Dotsmom
Posts: 11
Joined: Jun 2010

That sure did hit home! Thanks for the chuckles.

hope77
Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2010

You have a good sense of humor that will help see you through all the "helpful" comments. thanks for your post

soxgirl823
Posts: 8
Joined: Oct 2011

Well I can relate to most of them. I so appreciate that and it made me smile. It's not my wife but my mom who lives with me and from co-workers I have heard most of what you stated and i want to be like the comedian Bill Engvall"here's your sign" cause your spouting non sence. Especially #10 I(only child) care for my mom with cancer(age 70) and my 84 year old father who has become legally blind and a stroke. Wouldn't trade it for anything but really how do you care for yourself when you spend 23 hours out of the day caring for them.

Petesgirl
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2012

How about the friends who say "just let me know if there is anything I can do to help", then when you suggest that they might be available to drive to a treatment, or any little thing, then it's" Oh, it is a pretty day out today , and I have to mow my yard, or work in my garden". All of those things that you would feel like you were on vacation if you had five minutes to do them.

NBTXGIRL's picture
NBTXGIRL
Posts: 31
Joined: Aug 2009

You might be a caregiver if

*The pharmacist gives you a birthday card for your loved one! on their birthday.
*The makers of Lysol and Clorox wipes offer you stock options.
*There is more food in the garbage than in their stomach.
*The carpet in your house looks like an highway from wheelchair tires.
*Drug store employees have the prescriptions rung up before you can park the car.
*You can sleep thru a hurricane but wake up at the faint sound of groan.
*It feels like christmas when UPS delivers from Liberty Supply.
*Your grocery bill is higher than your mortgage.
*The light of your day is hearing those three little words..."I am hungry"
*Your day planner only consist of Doctor, Chemo and Radiation appts.
*You convert your china hutch to a bigger and better medicine cabinet.
*You receive a check from the pharmacy for being such a good customer.
*You get excited over an empty nausau basin.
*You get chills down your spine, that they are AWAKE and SITTING UP.
*Every corner in your house has tire rubs.
*Your washer and dryer gives a sigh of relief at the end of the day.

I wish you all rest today.

AnnaLeigh's picture
AnnaLeigh
Posts: 177
Joined: Jan 2010

You can't even take a five minute shower without being interrupted.

You haven't had time to shave your legs in so long that you look like a wooly mammoth.

Your meals consist of something liquid in a "To-Go" cup.

You know every brand of anti-diarrhea medicine on the market and which ones not to waste your money on.

Kamel
Posts: 5
Joined: Apr 2010

Just a small submission, sorry if any of these are repeats

*you have 2 phones, one for personal use, and one for family/friends to call so you can turn it off at night
*you have been ask by your friends if you've been doing drugs because you're so strung out from lack of sleep
*every break you have at work you plan out who you will be calling and bring a notepad
*you start telling everyone your loved one is doing "OK", just to avoid the long conversation that is about to ensue
*you nearly forgot your own birthdate because you've rattled off your loved ones so many times

AnnaLeigh's picture
AnnaLeigh
Posts: 177
Joined: Jan 2010

Your idea of excitement is playing a game of scrabble at home.

You know every direct telephone number and extension numbers to all of the different departments at the cancer treatment center.

caribou
Posts: 6
Joined: Mar 2010

You want to pummel the next person who says, "You are so STRONG. I would have crumbled a long time ago." (As if there's a choice.)

When someone else comes over to help and says, "Go out for a while and do something for yourself," you can't think of a single thing to do or a single person you want to see, nor do you have the energy, so you just sit around at home.

You are so sick of your own story that you're actually glad that when you call your oldest friend once every 6 months or so, she is so wrapped up in her own troubles that she doesn't even ask how you're loved one is.

You are so sick of your own story that you stop responding to phone messages and emails entirely.

Your 3-year-old tells you that adults don't cry and you realize that you've been too emotionally protective, so one day you do let yourself cry in front of him (just a little bit) and then he feels the need to tell everyone about it.

You feel like an alien in every social situation except for your caregiver support group. (If you're lucky enough to have one.)

AKAngel's picture
AKAngel
Posts: 74
Joined: Mar 2010

Whew, can I relate to most of what you said! I barely contact any of the people I used to, because 1)don't have the energy & 2) have run out of other things to talk about but my mom!
And though she is having hospice come visit once a week, it's IS hard to find something else to do...is it just worry about her or what I don't know. I guess it's hard to get out of the mind-set once you get in...that's where I'm really gonna need therapy! Or when my mom suggests I go out and do something fun for myself, and then an hour or so later, she's calling because she wants me back home...to just sit and do nothing while she falls back asleep!
So glad we have each other here!!!

AnnaLeigh's picture
AnnaLeigh
Posts: 177
Joined: Jan 2010

You think taking the trash to the curb (or dumpster) is "getting out of the house".

You look forward to some time off but would rather sleep than actually go anywhere.

You sleep when they sleep.

You are on a first name basis with all of the oncology nurses and staff.

jbed
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2010

You actually look forward to going to work. Work is the only place you get peace.

AnnaLeigh's picture
AnnaLeigh
Posts: 177
Joined: Jan 2010

If your garbage cans are marked - Regular, Recycling and Medical Waste

If your insurance company is on speed-dial

If you label medical professionals as - Very good, Good and Idiots. And you don't waste your time with anyone in that last category!

pattymel
Posts: 18
Joined: Apr 2010

1. You really need to do something for yourself, last I checked there were still only 24 hours in a day.
2. Are you sleeping ok? What I haven't slept well since this started. It's like watching a newborn to make sure it's still breathing.
3. My vacations are on the weekend when the 2-year-old is napping and the 11-year-old can call if dad needs me for something while i sit in a vacant parking lot and sob my heart out so i can try to keep it together for a few more days.
4. I so get the alien comment, and I especially like it when people want all the details and then say I'm so sorry I didnt mean to upset you.

Thanks everyone for making me laugh.

pattymel
Posts: 18
Joined: Apr 2010

1. The pharmacist doesn't even ask your name and knows exactly why you are there.
2. Once you get home with the medications you dole them out in a pill box to keep under your supervision so he doesn't take too much or too little.
3. You can look at a dropped pill on the floor and know exactly what it is, even if it's a white one and three of his meds are white.
4. When people tell you that you just need to have more faith (like that helps when you think of the future of Stage 4 and have two small children you will be left to raise by yourself).
5. When people tell you how strong you are, which means you can do it by yourself.
6. When you have to fight with every bureacracy involved with the treatment of your loved one to make sure nothing falls between the cracks.
7. When you fill out the same paperwork time after time after time, after time,and no a copy is not good enough.
8. The best news of the day involves the consistency and color of his poop.
9. And the saddest is when you no longer feel like you have a spouse but another child to care for and miss the intimacies you had before and dreamed of having forever.

AnnaLeigh's picture
AnnaLeigh
Posts: 177
Joined: Jan 2010

PattyMel -

That happened to me just today! Small white capsule on the end table in the living room. Picked it up and immediately knew it was the neuropathy medicine.

Of course, there are many other white pills in the daily meds, but I knew !!!!!!!!

LOL

AnnaLeigh

AnnaLeigh's picture
AnnaLeigh
Posts: 177
Joined: Jan 2010

You commonly use the abbreviations for -

Diagnosis = Dx
History = Hx
Prescription/Recipe = Rx
Symptoms = Sx
Treatment = Tx

And you have never been to medical or nursing school.

Pennymac02's picture
Pennymac02
Posts: 336
Joined: Aug 2010

#5. If I hear one more person comment on how "strong" I am...

Also, You might be a caregiver if the thought of going postal occurs everytime a clerk, cashier, or stranger inquires "How are you today?" Why do they ask that question? Sometimes I want to growl, "CANCER" in response, just because I am tired of my own story, and I'm sick of saying "fine" in response to that stupid question!

ruthelizabeth
Posts: 146
Joined: May 2009

I sometimes say, Persevering or I'll pass on that today.

Pennymac02's picture
Pennymac02
Posts: 336
Joined: Aug 2010

I like them both. I think I'll try them out on the next shopping trip!

menang
Posts: 35
Joined: May 2011

Thank you - I thought I was the only one who cringed when somebody told me to stay strong... I know they mean well, but really? If I had a dime (or a CURE)...

Maria

Brother of Mike, stage IV peritoneal
Wife of Dave, stage IV melanoma

geotina's picture
geotina
Posts: 2059
Joined: Oct 2009

Well I'm at work but thought of this one, gosh the guy meant well, he really is a very generous person, blah blah blah, but, I know his history and he is married and never without a girlfriend, FB, FWB or whatever:

"So how you set for companionship"

Lets see, after working all day, coming home and getting dinner, cleaning up after dinner, throwing in the laundry, emptying the dryer, stopping for errands, groceries and the like, cleaning up the bathroom (again), run the dishwasher, being told I forgot something, and the list goes on and on, but what the heck, sure, I'll meet you in room 334, nothing else to do!

Have a good one - Tina

AnnaLeigh's picture
AnnaLeigh
Posts: 177
Joined: Jan 2010

Instead of waking up to an alarm clock - you wake up to the sound of pill bottles rattling.

The drive-thru at the drug store recognizes your car by sight and has the medications ready for you without any questions.

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1560
Joined: Nov 2009

AnnaLeigh,
You are so funny and hit the nail on the head 100 %!! Thanks for making me smile and laugh. My dad passed away this march, but I will always remember knowing all of the numbers to the hospital, I had them on my contact list in my cell phone. I even had my dad's ongologists cell phone # and his home phone #. And, I did use them several times! I can also relate to the pill box and knowing what each and every pill was, by shape, size, and color! These are some of the things that I like to remember because they bring a smile to my face. I just remembered that I also had the # to my dad's hospital room and the # to the lounge area phone in my cell phone! Hey....it helped tremendously, I had to keep track of him and everything and everyone around him. Have a blessed day!
Tina #2

panks
Posts: 36
Joined: Feb 2010

If you cant sleep at night because he is not beside you.
You actually miss your pharmacist
you hear every little noise in the quiet house..

God bless you caregivers and please remember to enjoy all the moments you have with your loved ones no matter how hard they seem to be.

geotina's picture
geotina
Posts: 2059
Joined: Oct 2009

You might be a caregiver if you know that "5FU" is not a dirty word!

You might be a caregiver if you get the garbage right: Yard Waste, Regular and Medical Waste.

You might be a caregiver if you know exactly what to do when the pump with the "5FU" Beeps and you don't panic.

Thats all I got, thanks for the great post.

Tina

appleyellowgreen's picture
appleyellowgreen
Posts: 38
Joined: Sep 2009

You overhear two men talking baseball and forget that the Mets are the baseball team you root for and not the bad news you were expecting.

arkansasbrains's picture
arkansasbrains
Posts: 38
Joined: Oct 2009

. someone asks for your birthday/ssn, and you say your husband's.
. you helped him brush is teeth and didn't do yours.
. 130 lbs at 6'4" makes your day!

i love this post. it helps.

AnnaLeigh's picture
AnnaLeigh
Posts: 177
Joined: Jan 2010

You know which restaurants and stores in town are really handicap accessible and which ones are not.

You envy the care recipients electric scooter because it has a longer battery life and moves faster than you do.

tmc576
Posts: 60
Joined: May 2010

you wanted to be a nurse, you think you could skip nursing school based on "on the job training."

If your answer to the next person who tells you that you really need to take time for yourself is...."and you really need to find a way to add 4 or 5 hrs to each day, thanks"

AnnaLeigh's picture
AnnaLeigh
Posts: 177
Joined: Jan 2010

When "getting a little action" means you don't need to give them any fiber supplements today.

miccmill's picture
miccmill
Posts: 247
Joined: May 2010

I'm just entering the world of caregiver and I found this thread.

I laughed and cried. I'm scared but not as much anymore after hearing your experiences.

You've made it sound so much more human than my fears have made it out to be.

Thank you.

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