My Salute to Caregivers Everywhere!

One thing I have learned from first caring for my husband when we first met, is that providing care for those who need extra help almost always involves guilt of some kind.

So many of us understand the importance of this work…

Back when Mike and I first met, he suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) regularly. This meant trying to find doctors who understood this generally misunderstood and mistreated illness. The worst of the docs always blamed the victim by saying that CFS was caused my mental illness and had no biological basis. Thankfully the CDC eventually showed these MDs to be quite wrong. (Description of CFS at the CDC)

But in the meantime Mike had to go on regular short-term disability from his jobs. I had no previous experience with caring for others. I found that he generally felt guilty of having this terrible illness, and I felt guilty that I was not a more patient and compassionate caregiver.

Since moving down south six years ago, Mike’s health has improved dramatically. He rarely suffers days of CFS. And it’s a good thing because my health has gone downhill quickly. My main problems now are extreme hypoxia, defined as: “deprivation of adequate oxygen supply at the tissue level,” difficulties with consciousness and balance from a previous traumatic brain injury, and quickly failing eyesight (cataracts). And, I would like to add, DEPRESSION:

because I never had any major health problems before age 60. My how quickly things can and DO change! Luckily Mike is a marvelous caregiver! No guilt involved.

In addition to all of this, my Dad recently died from a short illness right before the announcement of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown in mid-March. This meant that my Mom, who had never lived alone in her 86 years of life, was suddenly quite alone and grieving terribly. Thankfully, my sister and her husband live nearby and provide every kind of loving care for her everyday. But with my health tenuous at best, (we have 3 known cases of Covid-19 in our county and over 20,000 in the Denver metro area where my Mom lives), I haven’t been able to go help out with my Mom’s care.

This means my sister is absolutely EXHAUSTED both physically and emotionally from helping Mom out day-to-day while I sit down south feeling breathless and guilty. I’m sure you can imagine how all this feels for both of us…

She does not blame me or anyone else, she and her husband are just completely worn out! There must be so many of you who are living through similar circumstances right now, with no easy answers, but lots of difficult circumstances to deal with everyday.

That is why I feel the need to salute all of you who have put your own life on hold while you care for the millions of friends and family members who desperately need your help. I love every single one of you for your bravery and dedication!

6 thoughts on “My Salute to Caregivers Everywhere!

  1. I second this, Laura! A huge and heartfelt thank you to all caregivers.
    I only had the care of my father for a couple of weeks, but it gave me a glimpse into what so many people experience day to day to day to day. Month by month and year by year.
    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Laura, blessings to you for this post. I gave birth to a unique soul with Down Syndrome then 2 years later acquired CFS and FM. I have been caring for my daughter for almost 26 years and the CFS/FM has gotten worse. I will be caring for my newborn grand daughter as well for 8 hours a day starting in July.
    I really don’t know if I can do all this or for how long but I will try. I know I have to have time for self-care or I won’t make it. There are other solutions out there and I won’t hesitate to explore and take them! Hugs to you and Mike

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  3. My heart goes out to you and your sister. Breathe… are you on supplemental O2? Remember, you are only one person and you are not responsible for everyone else. You are doing all you can right now. If a friend were in your shoes, what would be your advice to her? Treat yourself as well as you would treat your friend…

    Liked by 1 person

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