wings and things

When the carer gets sick

on January 2, 2013

Even though Anthony is now being cared for in the nursing lodge, and I am no longer physically exhausted, the emotional exhaustion has been a force to reckoned with and I seem to be susceptible to any flubug doing the rounds. I just rang and asked the head nurse if I could visit today but she said no because of my flu – understandable. But I haven’t seen Ants for 3 days now and he is as forlorn as I am about this.

The first time I succumbed badly to a flu was a few years ago when Ants was still at home, Ming was still at school and I was still working. That was the beginning of the end of the way we were. I ended up in intensive care, with very bad asthma and exhausted. I had to take leave from work, we got more home nursing help and Ming began to take over some of the night shifts looking after Ants – toiletting, turning him over etc.

It soon became obvious that I would not be able to go back to work in my usual capacity because I couldn’t leave Ants alone. On several occasions I would come back from dropping Ming off at the busstop, or from the local shop, to find Anthony had fallen.

My job allowed me to continue to teach online and I threw myself into this with gusto but the night shifts continued to take their toll and I got sick again, and again.

It’s just flu and no big deal but I wonder why and how I could still be so fatigued when I am no longer working, no longer up all night and when I feel so positive. The only thing I can put it down to is a slowly breaking heart.

I know exactly how to remedy this because I have decided that this year will be full of laughter no matter what.

Carers get sick too and this is the trouble. So if you are a carer, look after yourself. I always hated it when people said this to me but now I understand.

56 responses to “When the carer gets sick

  1. Anonymous says:

    Yes Jules the sad heart will affect you, but also consider getting your thyroid checked, seems 80% of females after 45 have crappy thyroid, causes fatigue, sadness, anger,lack of focus, memory loss, and numerous other problems. So you go get that checked also, and if so it can take 6 weeks average to come good. I love u hope u r havin a better day, and get well soon 🙂

  2. You are so right. It is important to be kind to yourself and recognise the need for adequate rest both physically and emotionally . As Ant deteriorates this will become even more so. Look for small pleasures in life – like Gutsy9

  3. sbcallahan says:

    now that you really understand our concern i hope you continue with your new resolve and take care of you. take your 3 days ming has offered you for a special gift. the exhaustion is your body’s way of getting your attention, a good laugh never hurts:)

  4. Anonymous says:

    The kind of stress you are under – emotionally & physically (yes, still physically trying to put on a brave front even now Anthony is being cared for in the nursing lodge), puts the body and all it’s organs under enormous strain. Unless you learn to relax and get plenty of restful sleep, your adrenal glands cannot replenish their reserves and you will end up having a complete breakdown (as I did in 1998 and nearly did for a second time in the months just before I quit working in Feb 2010).

    You need to learn how to de-stress and relax all your muscles.

    Drinking plenty of filtered water to hydrate your tissues & organs (especially kidneys) and eating a healthful diet high in anti-oxidants and Omega 3s is vital to give your system the support it needs. You need to eat the right diet for you (at this time in your life), not necessarily what the Dr or Dietician might suggest.

    You may think you’re relaxed when sitting outside talking to the Gang, but if your sub-conscious is still in ‘over-drive’ you are not relaxed enough. If you’re shutting your eyes for 8 hours but not reaching that deep restful stage of sleep, you’re not getting enough ‘restful’ sleep. (I have a sleep disorder so now know what real ‘restful’ sleep is).

    I used to get every virus & bug going around too. Now I’m (mostly) out of a stressful environment and Live in the Moment, I rarely get more than a sore throat or a brief re-occurence on my old IBS.

  5. I have had a anti-flu injection for the past 10 years and touch wood it has left me alone. Perhaps it might be worth giving it a try.

  6. tootlepedal says:

    I hope you get better soon. Remember to look after yourself as well as everyone else.

  7. Take care of yourself Julie! hugs.

  8. ooh I was going to attempt to write something comforting but I’m loving both ‘anons’ advice – should probably get my thyroid checked and drink more water 🙂
    take care Julie x

  9. It’s a huge problem at every end of the spectrum. Our son’s nanny broke a glass and cut her hand and she couldn’t reach anyone – my son got home within 45 minutes and she had to go to the emergency room herself. Then they had no one to call to watch our grandson– except me —
    the last day before the holiday break and they both had final exams and work. All their friends are in the same boat– working or in school — and all worry what to do if the nanny gets sick. There’s no emergency drop-off or emergency nanny service. Feel better and Happy New Year too.

  10. Helen says:

    I remember when Brad was sick his doctor saying to me quite seriously, ‘who takes care of the carer?’ It’s a very valid question.. No easy answers. So nice to read what Ming said to you the other day. Thinking of you and hope your feeling better soon 😃

  11. I hope that you get better soon, the flu is a supremely nasty bug. I know what you mean by how things go from difficult to near impossible when the carer gets sick. You are such an intrinsic part of Ant’s life and love that the sheer responsibility of that knowledge puts a lot of emotional pressure on you. It’s a huge weight that you carry and I know that you bear it gladly but it does take a toll. You definitely need that Spa package. It will be very good medicine for you.:)

  12. I see others have given some good advice. I worry about my cousin who is caring for his mother and has no one else to help. I hope you are feeling better soon.

  13. So sorry that you aren’t feeling well…I can truly empathize with that aspect as I recently had pneumonia and couldn’t shake it …it took so much out of me for almost a month….

    But the other aspect of your life in ongoing and I think your attitude or resolve for 2013 is a good one…Laughter is a necessity for good health…and life in general….take care …Diane

  14. terry1954 says:

    in my opinion it isn’t only the physical exhaustion but also the mental fatigue. there is never a day that I don’t think about Al. I worry I feel guilt, sadness, I am sure I feel it all. that is draining on the body

    • jmgoyder says:

      And I don’t think anyone understands this except people in our position.

      • terry1954 says:

        i totally agree. the sadness from missing Al and having placed him has taken over my heart. i need to get back on top and realize that i could not have taken care of him much longer if at all anymore. i have no reason to feel guilt but i do

  15. Colline says:

    Get better soon. Continue to rest and soon your body will catch up and be healthy once again.

  16. I’ve seen it time and again. The carer ends up as sick as the one they’re trying to look after.

  17. Cee Neuner says:

    I so honor you carers. The stress you go through on a day to day and sometimes minute to minute basis is remarkable. I see Chris go through it all the time taking care of me. Laughter is a wonderful aid to help cheer a worn out heart. Thanks for sharing and please take care of yourself.

  18. tersiaburger says:

    Easy to say but hard to action. We all run on adrenaline and the second that we relax a germ/virus finds it’s way to penetrate our body armor. Get better dear Julie.

  19. viveka says:

    Julie … we have to look after #ONE .. first of all – because if we are not okay – will there be less .. of us for those we love. So take your time!

  20. hugs to my Julie — somehow our body knows when our resistance is down–laughter should help–I will send you a pic of me that should make you laugh

  21. Robyn Lee says:

    I am sure this all takes more out of you than you realize… always remember what I told you a long time ago ~” there is nothing more important than your health and wellbeing “- NOTHING ~ promise me you will do your best to look after you in all ways k ? Love you Julie ~ x

  22. You do everyone a disservice if you neglect yourself.

    My Mum had poor health but hated to make a fuss so wouldn’t call or see a doctor if she could help it. She ended up in the hospital so many times, at great inconvenience to everyone.

    It’s not selfish to take care of your health; it’s sensible.

  23. FlaHam says:

    Julie, I know what a challenge this can be — please hang in there and get better soon. Take care, Bill

  24. With all that you are going through, emotionally and physically – it really is essential that you, Julia, take care of you! As women (and anyone in a caretaker role), we often forget to take care of ourselves. How can we care for anyone else lest we first take care of us? Big virtual hugs to you and your family for all you are going through.

  25. eof737 says:

    I do hope you stock up on vitamins and get some much needed rest… Feel better! When are you heading off for Ming’s R&R then? 🙂

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