I've vented about various aspects of my situation and some have offered some great advice. Well, I'm finally ready to move beyond that basic advice and probe one particular aspect further. First, some background.
I have been caring for my wife for several years. She has stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. She was not supposed to make it to last summer, but she is still hanging on, even fighting off cancer in her cranial fluid many months ago. She still has her mind in spite of years of chemo and many rounds of radiation, some to her brain. Her memory is slipping and she has other mental issues, but all-in-all she has most of her faculties. All that is great. So what's the problem?
Well, there are a few but I'm here to take on one in particular.
Every web site, every book, every article and pamphlet says the same thing. Make time for yourself.
Well, just how does one do that when you get no cooperation and no time?
We have a two friends that will sit with my wife for an hour or more so I can actually go into work when I need to for meetings.
One of them is caring for her husband who has dementia and many other health issues. Her visits with my wife is her break, but she can't do that often and she can't go for long.
The other lives two hours away, works, and is dealing with her own issues. Obviously, she can't com every often either.
OK, so there are services and day care services, right? Well, yeah, if you can use them. And this is where my problem comes in.
First, my wife wants no strangers in the house. That means no home health, no home visiitng caregiviers, no housekeeping, nothing. I do it all. Always. No matter what.
As for day care, hobbies, clubs, or anything else, that's a no-go as well. There is always some excuse. She knows no one there. She doesn't know what she'll do there. What if she starts feeling bad? And then there is the classic, "Oh, I'm not that bad. I can just sit here by myself for a while." Well, no she can't. Not with her terrible short-term memory and propensity for being disctracted to the point of obsession with just about anything. What if that happens with something on the stove or something worse.
So how do you deal with that? When your ONLY breaks are either going to work or getting to lean back and close your eyes in a waiting room while waiting for a test they won't let you accompany your charge to? How do you find time for yourself when there is no break and your charge will not do anything or make any compromise to accommodate creating one?