This is not a post to tell you to eat and drink less and work out more, though this advice is good and most likely we all should follow it (ok fine, just me), this post is dedicated to the importance of well-being.
So far, September has proven to be one hell of an unhealthy month.
My two sisters were scheduled for a bone marrow transplant – one to give, one to receive, later this month. We learned this week that my sister in need of the transplant has an issue that conflicts with bone marrow transplant protocol and needs to be addressed by her team of doctors before moving forward with the transplant. Hopefully her doctors figure out a solution sooner than later.
My dad, who is in a nursing home due to a severe stroke, was diagnosed with malignant tumor in his lung. He had surgery last week to remove the tumor and a quadrant of his lung. The cancer had not spread to his lymph nodes and he is recovering well.
My nephew’s girlfriend is having back surgery this week to relieve her chronic pain.
My friend’s sister is having a heart transplant on Thursday after a lifetime of heart health issues.
A friend is in the hospital recovering from four broken vertebrae in his neck.
I learned today that a dear co-worker and old friend had a heart attack and is recovering from bypass surgery.
While my thoughts are with those that are in need of care and aid and healing, wishing them all the best in their recovery process, my heart and the message of this post really goes out to those that are the primary caregivers to these patients in need.
Are you one of those people? Are you an EMS or first on the scene response person? Are you a doctor or a nurse? Or are you a loved one? Or are you just associated with one of these caregivers?
In any of the above cases, your health, your strength – both mentally and physically – are needed like never before. Your turn to breakdown will come, but, for now, do what you have to do, lean on others if necessary for support but stay strong, have compassion, and do everything you can.Moms naturally fall into this vicious cycle. We stay up late, getting coughed on or barfed on as we hold our kids close, nursing them through their ailments, pushing ourselves to the limit until the family is outside playing in the sun all happy healthy and well, and we find our maternal selves laid up in bed with an exponential version of their disease.
People also have a tendency to take on others ailments. My son pulled his left IT band and tweaked his patella tendon on his left leg. We have been icing and working that leg for a week. As I see his bum leg getting stronger, I swear his heebie jeebies jumped into my knee.
Colds, flu and soccer injuries don’t compare to the extreme health emergencies like the those listed above in just my family and friend circle this month. For the longterm caregivers, know that recovery is going to take a long time. Care will be arduous and will suck the life out of you if you let it. There is no sugar-coating it, caring for someone in these extreme cases is hard work.
You must be strong. You must be healthy. You must be well, in mind, body and spirit.
What does that mean? That is for you to decide. Take time for yourself, get enough sleep, enlist the help of others (this is what family and friends are for), and call on social services for relief. Whatever you do, don’t carry the responsibility on your shoulders alone, don’t internalize the stress that will create resentment toward the person you’re caring for and love and most importantly, remind yourself why you love the person you are caring for and express that love for them.
I lack official qualifications to say any of this to you, but I do know from firsthand experience.