Sunday, October 6, 2013

Running out of Patience for My Patient

       This is Day 6 in The Nester's 31 Day Challenge. To find a list for the first 5  of my posts about "Practicing Patience" go here

      I read somewhere, on a care giving blog or website, that when a caregiver takes over the full time care of a loved one, that loved ones ability to care for themselves begins to decline. I know that this is true. And I know why I have done this to my husband, Richard. It is due to my impatience. I can do it FASTER. I can do it BETTER. I can do it NEATER. But is that okay? I was once told by another well-meaning person that if my husband was a drug addict and I took over this way it would be called enabling behavior. That gave me pause. And made me a bit mad, I will admit.

     Getting Richard ready to face the day is a challenge. I get him up. Toilet him. And dress him for the day. I do it all. He used to try to help. But I can do it faster. I now understand that I have taken that away from him. I need to allow him to do what he can do. I now set him at the table and set up his toothbrushes and other paraphernalia and allow him to brush his teeth. It takes FOREVER. But I have to let him do it. He wants to do it. He NEEDS to do it. I make the coffee and get his breakfast started. Sometimes it is hard! Hell, most of the time it is hard.

     My youngest son is always telling me to let him do a few things for himself. There are such a few things that he can do. If I see him struggling to reach his bottle of water that sits next to his chair, I am quick to jump up and get it for him. If he is struggling to pull up his blankets and tuck them around him, I am quick to jump and do it for him. But do you know what I have really done? I have forced him to depend on me more. His muscle tone is flaccid because he doesn't use these muscles for ANYTHING. Am I doing these things because I want to take care of him? Or because I am too impatient to wait for him to do them for himself.

     I am impatient for him to go to sleep at night. I give him his sleeping medication. Then I give him his anxiety medication. (Maybe I should take that one) Then I nag him. And if he doesn't go to sleep I lose patience. Do I want the alone time? Or is it because I do not feel that I can go to sleep until he does? I know what the consequences will be if he fidgets and manages to get up after I have gone to sleep. If he falls there will be more pain and suffering for him. And MY job will be harder.

     I find myself even more impatient if I am feeling the pressure of time. If we need to be somewhere. Or if someone is coming. I always think that the faster I want him to move, the slower he moves. I need to find that happy place for both of us. That place that allows him to have more freedom and be more in charge and me to be patient and happier. I will keep working on that.


  1. Thanks to giving voice to what so many caregivers are feeling, Paula. I've no advice -- but appreciate your honesty!

  2. Wow! I never thought of it that way. I need to pass some of this advice to my mother-in-law who is caring for her elderly mother. She gets extremely impatient with her and vice versa.

    1. I have decided that caregiving is the hardest job in the world!!

    2. I know she agrees with you. And Granny (her mom) can still do things for herself (even though sometimes she refuses to).


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