Governor Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota officially proclaimed November as Family Caregivers Month! Give his official Proclamation a read – that’s you lurking somewhere in the statistics and words of praise.
Well, maybe you are. But since care giving puts a whuppin’ on body, heart and mind over time there’s no surprise that our lives reflect the damage.
I’m currently reading Being Mortal but Atul Gawande. The author is a surgeon who also writes outstanding prose that invites the lay person to look at medical issues and medical professionals to look at the human impact of their work.
Yesterday, I read his description of an adult daughter caring for her father,
Taking care of a debilitated, elderly person in our medicalized era is an overwhelming combination of the technological and the custodial… The burdens for today’s caregiver have actually increased from what they would have been a century ago. Shelley had become a round-the-clock concierge/chauffeur/schedule manager/medication-and-technology troubleshooter, in addition to cook/maid/attendant, not to mention income earner. Last minute cancellations by health aides and changes in medical appointments played havoc with her performance at work, and everything played havoc with her emotions at home…
She felt her sanity slipping.
Misery (or is it madness?) loves company, and I was reminded of what I wrote in the intro to Raising A Child With Autism,
Maybe you are an amateur trying to be caregiver, therapist, clinician, advocate, mommy, daddy and everything else to a loved one living with autism. You feel like a lone idiot with a leaky hose when the job needs a landscape company.
So if you’re out there feeling depressed, or enraged, or exhausted, or or or or… just repeat after Dr. Sheldon Cooper: