Sunday, July 1, 2012

I'm Not Pig-Pen....Yet.

One issue that is paramount in caregiving  is the physical and mental health of the caregivers.  Even before my parents moved here three years ago, people I met would tell me to be sure and take care of myself.   As far as the emotional stress from being a care-giver goes, I'm good.  I have a great husband who helps out when he can and a daughter who routinely keeps up with dishes, recycling and keeping surfaces germ-free with Lysol wipes.  An absolute must in this house!  None of us have been sick during this three year period.  Knock on wood.  I also started a blog after keeping journals for three years.  This has helped tremendously!  Quite cathartic!  I take several breaks during the year to visit friends when I can get away.

The physical aspect of taking care of myself is a different story.  Easier said than done. I have neglected myself to the point of distraction.  I walk around in yesterday's clothes, unwashed hair and old make-up.  I also tend to stay in pajama bottoms most of the time and I've become a bit of a slob   My daughter has found cheese and peanut butter in my hair.  I found a Cheeto in my bra once and I've had popcorn fall from several shirts when changing clothes.  I guess I'm part chipmunk.   I've looked in the mirror many times to see mascara smudged under my eyes or streaked over my temples.  Once when driving my parents to a doctor appointment I realized I was still wearing slippers!  I had to drop them off and drive 10 miles back to the house to get shoes. 

 I have also found all sorts of food stuffs under my nails.  I quit having mani-pedis when we moved here. That may have been a mistake.  I tend to treat my nails as though they are screwdrivers, pan scrapers or food testers.  When I had pretty nails they were pampered.   I stopped cutting my hair.  This wasn't my plan.  I just needed to find a place to go to in the new area.  I still haven't figured that out.  No time.  My hair has grown out in it's natural color and with gray streaks since I also stopped coloring it.  I pull it back constantly, but because I can never remember to carry scrunchies, I frequently have pens, pencils or shish kabob skewers stuck in ersatz buns.

As expected my mind has begun failing.  I walk out of a room to retrieve something from another room, but by the time I get to the second room I've already forgotten what I was going there for.  I forget entire thoughts when talking to someone and rarely ever remember what they were.   I even searched for almost 15 minutes once for my glasses...I was WEARING them!!!  I have left tasks half finished when I forget I was doing them in the first place, sort of like having selective ADD.  I'll go back into a room to find a deserted vacuum, iron, half folded laundry, abandoned projects or tools.  I have not only forgotten to take showers,  but I am notorious for putting off running to the bathroom.  I do, however, brush and floss my teeth daily and go to the dentist twice a year.  So I might look deranged, but I have a nice smile.

Ewe's not fat, Ewe's fluffy!
I have lousy eating habits.  I fix meals at least three to five times a day, yet I can get to the end of the day and realize I myself have had nothing but coffee and ice tea all day.   I often eat cereal or popcorn for dinner, just to get it out of the way.  In 2010, I went on Weight Watchers and lost 42 pounds.   I describe myself as fluffy.  Oh, I know I am at least 30 pounds overweight, but I like the term "fluffy" better.  It means I'm cuddly.   I have been lucky that the weight and eating habits have not led to health issues, however last month I started having loss of appetite which led to unexpected weight loss.  I have an endoscopic procedure in July to determine if it's related to stomach issues.  Since the appointment was made, though,  I seem to have found my appetite and the weight loss has stopped.  Go figure.

There are so many things to do for my parents. There's a lot to do all the time.  The list never gets finished.  Laundry, housekeeping, cooking, grocery shopping, prescriptions, doctor's appointments and trips to the Dairy Queen keep me very busy.  The reminders to care for myself did not fall on deaf ears, but I have my own errands, appointments, cooking, cleaning, etc. to do for myself and my family.  I need to pay attention to myself.   Like I am going to remember to do that!  But even if I'm not dressed well or have my wits about me, I think I'm hanging in there with the care-giving gig.  I can always take a shower  tomorrow!


KrisT said...

Sometimes I swear you are actually writing about me taking care of Kaitlyn. I went from being an accountant wearing 4 inch heals everyday, with manicures and expensive hair cuts and colors, to someone that hardly gets dressed, I almost always wear flip flops, I couldn't tell you the last time I got my nails done, and I'm lucky if I get my hair done twice a year. Oh, and it took me 6 months to finally go to the doctor about the random symptoms that turned out to be a ton of gallstones :(

Gadget Girl said...

Kristie, thank you so much! I stayed at home with both of mine, so I know where you are coming from. 4-inch heels? Wow. I'm way too klutzy to handle 1-inch! I routinely twisted my ankles in high school wearing platform shoes in the 70's! You should take what you wrote above and expand it for your blog! Oh, and you gotta include yesterday morning's adventures with Rocky. Priceless!