"Boy, what a week!"
...How many of you know that phrase by heart? All of you! (And not always starting with such an innocent word as "boy...")
Well, that's been my week. And I know it probably has been for you, too.
Just by way of illustration: I went to the grocery store a week ago. On the day of my mom's most recent treatment. Mom's treatment stays usually last about 6 hours, so the day is toast by the time we get home, and we are "pooped."
So, back to the groceries.
I. Just. Now. Finished. Unloading. The. Car.
Don't get me wrong: I got the precious perishables out as soon as we went inside.
But the rest?
It slept in my car through a week of hot-cold-stormy-sunny. Once we had the front door locked, the outside world vanished.
This week progressed similarly for the rest of our responsibilities, too: we felt under the weather (literally and figuratively), so the ticks on the tick-off list just didn't get ticked.
I am absolutely sure that each of you knows that feeling. That's one of the safety nets of this community: nobody knows what it's like until they've been there. Not really. That's what helps to build our Caregiver community and our LC community. That's our familial bond.
But, like most weapons, it can be a sword or a shield. Sometimes, that bond can also be a burned bridge.
Have you ever been challenged by another Caregiver? Asked to defend why you chose a particular approach for your loved one? Asked why you haven't done this or tried that?
I have. And I bet you have, too.
Not only does it imply that one approach is better (which is condescending), but such criticism places an additional burden on already overwhelmed shoulders: explain this to me! Justify this to me! Take the time to research my position!
Even as we build our bonds as Caregivers, and even as we acknowledge the struggle that unites us, we must always remember that every family is different. Every patient has different needs, so every Caregiver must respond to THAT patient, OUR patient, rather than to some "ideal" formula of caregiving.
Want a live-in aide? Hire one. Don't? Then don't. Same with choosing treatment plans, listening to holistic practitioners, which tasks to assign friends and family, which information to share with whom, how to make the calendar...anything.
I'm as guilty of this as anyone, but I try to consistently remind myself: we are on the same journey, but along different paths. And that's okay.
I would be honored if you would join us at our next monthly #LCCaregiver Twitter chat: tomorrow, Wednesday 4/5, at 8pm ET. Just follow #LCCaregiver to participate. Everyone is welcome. Bring a friend. Tell a fellow Caregiver. Have your loved ones chat alongside you.
I am so excited to share with and learn from you.
The questions and topics are below, so that you may review them before we "meet" tomorrow night.
Love and thanks,
Did you find support among other caregivers or do/did you find it more challenging? Why?
Have you experienced feelings of guilt or judgement placed upon you by other #LCCaregivers?
What are some of the tensions that can erupt between carers?
What are the different tensions between #LCCaregivers in families vs in support groups?
How can a new #LCCaregiver prevent caregiver conflict and competition?
Are there any tips or resources that can help an #LCCaregiver dealing with competition and judgement?