You’re out of vicks…

A simple note left.  Out of vicks for the vaporizor  sent me over the edge.  Why?  Maybe because I’m a burnt out caregiver who had literally stopped my life for a couple years to care for grandparents. ..with VERY LITTLE to no other family help.  I’ve moved in to care for family.  Neglect my own home, husband, pets and health.  I take care of 3 houses, bills, doc appointments, bills, estate Crap, insurance Crap,  an invalid, all hygiene needs,  medical needs,  home health scheduling,  groceries,  her health issues,  my health issues. ..try to keep being useful for kids and grand kids. …

Then some useless family member who drops in for 20 min a wk, leaves messages about some Crap that he notices.  Like vicks. ..for a vaporizor that is totally u necessary to begin with. ..but makes him feel better. ..add if he’s actually contributing. ..he’s not the one cleaning it out twice a day. ..lugging it from room to room twice a day, burning his hands. ..just another Damn job for me. ..but makes him feel better I guess.

Until you have been a FULL TIME caregiver for a family member for months to years. have no idea what it involves.  It’s exhausting mentally and physically.  It’s frustrating to watch someone you love deteriorate.  To be their only support.  To fulfill their every need and still come up short.

To have”family”members who do not work and are physically healthy,simply choose not to be a significant part of taking care of their own mother. ..sickens me.  If you thought a huge inheritance would reward your efforts would you make an attempt?  Just for the record. .I’ve not received a dime to move out of my life.

To hear “oh we can’t take care of her on Saturday. .we have plans. ..a party. appointment. ..whatever.  ya know how many parties, vacations, weekends and appointments I’ve canceled in 2yrs?

Caregiving is hard.  It’s thankless.  It’s non stop.  Even if you have hired help. ..the responsibility is still forefront in your mind.  The scheduling.  The groceries.  The meds.  The appointments.  The never ending needs.

Am I tired?  Yes.  Overwhelmed?  Yes.  Frustrated?  Yes.  But I’m doing the best I can, because I know they would do it for me…because family takes care of family. ..without the expectation of a pay out

So skip the stupid vaporizor. ..just take care of your loved one for a weekend…skip the 20 min visit thru the week to make yourself feel better. ..when the real reason is to itemize contents of a house.

It’s hard now.  But I know in years to cone I willk feel good about my sacrifice and the time I got to spend with people who mean the world to me..even if right now being burned out is at the forefront.

Hug a caregiver today.  Give them a few hours break.  Take them a meal.  Get their groceries.  Find a way to make them laugh for a minute and step away from their responsibility.

It’s hard. ..but it’s worth it. ..keep going.

Continue reading

This entry was posted on October 28, 2015. 2 Comments

Be there cuz u care. ..not cuz u wna cash in ..on an imagined treasure.

Being a full time caregiver is tough. Putting another adults needs above your own, day in and day out for months, or years. a challenge.  No matter how much you love them  or how much they’ve done for you. …it’s hard.

Your with them 16 to 24 hrs a day.  Everyday.  24 hrs a day each weekend.  There are no vacations.  Even if you manage 24 hrs off…your mind is there with them.  The Toileting,  dressing,  bathing,  brushing,  cleaning, feeding,  empathzing,  listening,  commiserating, transferring,  lifting.    It’s work.  Physical and emotional.  WORK. For zero pay.

But you do it,  it of love . It’s the right thing to do.  You WANT to be there.  Then you have to deal with the”judges” thr ones who do next to nothing to care for someone,  but find the need to judge how YOU do it.  They slink in at the end if people’s lives to offer meaningless help. ..and to inquire about Financials. ..where were they during the diaper changes…the up all night anxieties. ..the baths,  the doc appointments?  Where?

They were living their FREE lives.  Unencumbered.  Couldn’t be bothered.  Their lives are busy and important.  They’re jealous that you seem to have too much control.   Never considering that perhaps you never wanted this responsibility.  Never asked for it.

You give up a normal life. ..caring for someone who you know would do the same for you. ..and had.  You expect nothing.  But deserve the respect from the ones who couldn’t be bothered.

Keep digging.  All the way to the hell that you’ve earned.

This entry was posted on September 16, 2015. 1 Comment

If u need anything. ..let me know. ..

Caregiving.  Is a job.  You’re responsible for atleast one other person. ..all their hygiene and activities of daily living.  You no longer can take vacations or watch a movie.

You live to keep your loved one safe  and comfy.  All their needs are met.  You give up vacations, weekends,  time with friends….there’s no time to paint your nails. ..your time is. ..over.

People will say…”if i can help. Let me know”…but they don’t mean it.  It makes them feel better to offer a vague offering. …that they  never follow  thru.

The days just run into the next.  Bed changes.  Baths. Shampoos. Toileting…dishes. ..commode cleaning. ..meals…meds. ..appointments. …..bills. ..laundry.

Before u know it, Ur  life is consumed. It’s all about caring for them.  You no longer exist.  Did u ever?

24/7. One day runs into 3…sum 1  givesd u the reprieve of 1 or 2 hours…big freaking deal.

Are they there at night for the wet diapers or anxiety 4 the medsor meals?

Usually. ..”can I do something to help” means. …only if U donn’t  fuk with my plans. Luckily. ..I need NO ONE.   I CAN DO IT ALL.  ALWAYS HAVE.  So don’t waste my time with your empty offers.  I got this.

This entry was posted on August 15, 2015. 3 Comments

Raise the door. ..

I sat in my car tonight.  Motor running.  In the garage.  Door shut.  Tears flowing.  Spirit broken.  Faith gone.  What a relief it would be to just go to sleep and never wake up.  No more responsibilities.  No more judgements.  No more questions.  No more answers.  No more problems.  No more stress.  No more frustration.  No more bullshit.

Raise the door ? Or finally be free?

The Mommy “Angel”….

To the mommy who didn’t sleep tonite cuz she was up with a sick baby, I noticed.

To the mommy who is still wearing maternity jeans at 6 months post delivery cuz she can’t afford new ones, I noticed.

To the mommy who skipped garlic toast with dinner so her family could each have 2, I noticed.

To the mommy who buys generic deodorant so her family can eat name brand peanut butter, I noticed.

To the mommy who is still up doing laundry or dishes after 1 am, I noticed.

To the mommy who is rocking her sick baby in the steamy bathroom at 4am, I noticed.

To the mommy who hasn’t had 4 hrs of strait sleep in a year, I noticed.

To the mommy who is scraping whatever that weird gunk is between the stove & counter, I noticed.

To the mommy who goes around spraying Lysol on all surfaces multiple times per day, I noticed.

To the mommy cleaning poo/pee off the potty numerous times per day, I noticed.

To the mommy who has said her thousandth “protection” prayer for her children, I noticed.

To the mommy who has compared herself yet once again to the latest celebrity moms body, I noticed.

To the mommy who has read the same bedtime story for the hundredth time, I noticed.

To the mommy who has layed on the floor holding her childs hand so he/she could  sleep, I noticed.

To the mommy who has spent hours helping her child with their science project, I noticed.

To the mommy who has stayed up all night worrying about a sick child, I noticed.

To the mommy who has worried herself sick during her childs first overnight stay, I noticed.

To the mommy who has repeated “stranger danger” to her children several times, I noticed.

To the mommy who has felt ugly at the end of the day, I noticed.

To the mommy who doesn’t feel valued, I noticed.

To the mommy who loves her family more than herself, I noticed.

To the mommy who cuts coupons, makes lists, and juggles the bills, I noticed.

To the mommy who hasn’t felt sexy since she was 3 months pregnant, I noticed.

To the mommy who tries to make each holiday and birthday special, I noticed.

To the mommy who cooks a meal or two each and everyday, hearing the words “eww”, I noticed.

To the mommy who does her families laundry each week, I noticed.

To the mommy who changes the bedclothes each week…whether they looked dirty or not, I noticed.

To the mommy who struggles thru the evening child bath with smiles and tickles, I noticed.

To the mommy who scrapes yet another egg crusted skillet, I noticed.

To the mommy who sat alone in the middle of the night feeling inadequate, I noticed.

To the mommy who rocked her colicky baby while crying herself, I noticed.

To the mommy who 2nd guessed herself on every child rearing decision, I noticed.

To the mommy who cut ravioli into equal portions for her children, I noticed.

To the mommy who tried to explain Jesus, Santa, or the Easter Bunny, I noticed.

To the mommy caring for children, grandchildren and parents/grandparents, I noticed.

To the mommy scrubbing baseboards/nooks & crannies, I noticed.

To the mommy singing the ABC’s one more time, I noticed.

To the mommy hugging her child & kissing their boo boo, I noticed.

To the mommy wiping the ickiest body substances for the 10th time that day, I noticed.

To the mommy who goes without a new winter coat so her children can have new, I noticed.

To the mommy who skips her prescription this month so her child can have his, I noticed.

To the mommy who fears she is making many mistakes, I noticed.

To the mommy who checks her sleeping babies breaths, I noticed.

To the mommy who sneaks cauliflower into the mashed potatoes, I noticed.

To the mommy who makes her childs lunch everyday, I noticed.

To the mommy who tucks their child in each and every night, I noticed.

To the mommy who scares away the “bad monsters” everynite, I noticed.

To the mommy who has braced herself for the after school “listen to my story first” onslaught, I noticed.

To the mommy who has had to read a thousand stories outloud to her child, I noticed.

To the mommy who skipped her shower today so her children could have a hot bath, I noticed.

To the mommy who skipped a cookie so her child could have two, I noticed.

To the mommy who felt inadequate when compared to another mommy, I noticed.

To the mommy who felt second best when compared to a “work outside the home” mommy, I noticed.

To the mommy who tried to remain calm when she was scared out of her mind for her child, I noticed.

To the mommy who listened to an hour long story of a “booger picker” at school, I noticed.

To the mommy  who heard “But Tommy/Marys mom always lets them do it!” a hundred times, I noticed.

To the mommy who has heard “I hate you!”, I noticed.

To the mommy whose heart has broken during each of her childs sad times, I noticed.

To the mommy who has had to smile thru tears, I noticed.

To the mommy who has felt invisible, I noticed.

To the mommy who felt all alone, I noticed.

To the mommy who wondered if anyone noticed their home décor, I noticed.

To the mommy who has tried to freshen up after a day of spit up and diapers, I noticed.

To the mommy who has had to referee another sibling fight, I noticed.

To the mommy who has given her life for her children…I noticed.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………..signed, The Mommy Angel

Why not just move on?

I have heard people speak those words regarding people who have had something devastating occur in their lives, wondering why those people seem to linger in their misery long after the initial event has passed.  Sometimes it seems people just can’t seem to get past a particularly bad event in their lives. Maybe they stay in grief mode years after a death of a loved one. Maybe they have post traumatic stress for months or years after being mugged. And those around them, whether its people who love them or people who just like to pass judgment on others, can’t help but wonder why the person just can’t seem to pick up life where they left off? Just brush it off and MOVE ON already!

Well, as someone who suffers daily with chronic pain and anxiety related to a botched surgery that occurred in November 2005, let me just say that it’s not as simple as one may think.  I truly wish it was. But when every single waking moment is filled with pain from that incident, it’s really hard to just “get past it.” And the anxiety that I suffer with is also hard to just blow off…I suffer with anxiety and worry daily, regarding my declining health, my pain, my bleak future, not being able to do things I would like to do, not being able to make money to contribute to our family, incurring medical bills that keep us in debt, fear of future medical issues, feeling like a burden, and fear of the medical profession as a whole.  It’s hard to put trust back into the very group of people that caused your situation. It wasn’t just the surgical mistake the doctor made, it was me laying in ICU for days with infection burning thru my body, eating my insides like acid…with both nurses and doctors not picking up on it. It was that next year where 200 days of it were spent in hospitals, enduring 15 further “repair” surgeries, open wounds, flesh eating virus, pneumonia, blood clots,  wound vacs, poorly fitted ostomies, skin infections, central line infections, blood infections…caused by poor medical care in some instances. Nurses who didn’t wash their hands properly for instance. There was one instance I can prove this, I was of course very ill, laying in a hospital bed, a CNA was caring for me, cleaning me up for the day, and during the bedbath she had to wash around my central line in my chest, so she would touch it and move it aside during the bath. She was young and very sweet and I liked her, she was one of the few who actually talked to me and treated as a human being in the bed rather than some practice dummy. She and I were conversing, mostly her since I wasn’t feeling real chatty, but she used some little hand sanitizer she pulled from her pocket before she left and I said it smelled good, she said she got it at Bath and Bodyworks and she had many, so she handed the little container of sanitizer to me saying I could keep it. I said thank you of course, and she sat it on the bedside table and left. The lighting in the room was dim, but later I turned on the over-bed light and picked up the sanitizer…it was then I noted the little bottle was smeared with fecal matter. Yes…POOP. So, obviously at some point the girl got poo on it but didn’t realize it and was then squeezing it onto her hands to “sanitize” her hands, but was really contaminating her hands in the process…

So, that long story was really just to show that when we are helpless in a hospital or nursing home setting, we are depending upon the medical professionals caring for us to follow Universal Precautions to help keep the rate of infection down. But sometimes they do not. Sometimes they don’t wash their hands, or don’t do it properly. Sometimes they think, “I was wearing gloves when I cleaned up that poop, I don’t have to wash too” and move on to the next person.  But maybe the glove had a tear or small hole. Maybe some of the matter got on her wrist or her shirt or her stethoscope (another potential portal of infection), they maybe washing a dirty area then wash a clean area, or touch your IV caps or your foley cath tubing when emptying your bag…there are so many ways for infection to spread. They don’t mean to. They are just trying to do their jobs…which are extremely stressful, with the corporation rules, the constant short-staffing and heavy patient loads, the management breathing down their necks to keep costs down but do more work…it’s no wonder there are so many staph infections and MRSA infections, among others that get spread throughout healthcare settings on a daily basis.

But, this entry really wasn’t supposed to be about infection control…so I apologize for the tangent. My point with that was that I ended up with so many hospital acquired infections during that horrid year, and witnessed so many medical mistakes…wrong meds they attempted to give me, watched them perform treatments or instill meds in ways that were not following proper protocol, leaving me to lay in a dirty bed for far too long, or just being unprofessional or even, I am sad to say, downright cruel in some instances…I had one aid strip me down and park me in a shower chair, tossed a rag in my lap and left me there under the cold running shower, while she went to do something else. At the time I couldn’t stand or walk, I had lines coming from everywhere, my intestines were open with my belly having a softball sized wound, covered in saran wrap and hooked to a wound vac…a foley cath to collect my urine, and was so weak, ill and drugged I could really barely speak or move. I sat there with my teeth chattering, naked and vulnerable, freezing water spraying on me, no call light in reach and unable to call out for help. Another aid came in and half way dried me off, threw me in a gown and rolled me back to bed.

Nurses who yelled at me for wetting the bed, or soaking it with perspiration during high fevers or the hot-flashes after the ovary removal. A doctor who was abrasive saying “This is the hand you were dealt, you gotta decide how to play it” when I was fighting for my life…and just trying to live from one minute to the next.

So, yea…I have anxiety issues when it comes to the medical profession. I must go to the doctor every month, the Coumadin nurses every month…and I live in fear of my intestines becoming blocked or twisted by adhesions and ending up back in the hospital, facing another surgery in a life or death situation. Or having to go due to bloodclots or heart problems. 

Every single day since that botched surgery has been filled with pain and anxiety. They can’t fix the physical or mental damage that was done. They can throw meds at the problems, but they can’t fix them. They believe and understand the physical pain I am in, like they said, “You can’t be cut and sewn and cut and sewn on one area of your body as many times as you have been and not have long-term consequences, the adhesions have become rubber band tourniquets around your bowels Tammy, you can no longer digest food properly and the nerve bundles have been sewn up into the tissue adding to the pain cycle, the ventral hernia which we cannot fix will continue to burn and cause pain, we are sorry that all we can try is to keep you comfortable and keep your nutrition supplemented” oh and there’s always the “We are so sorry you have had to live thru this unattended mishap.”

I wake up and the pain is there, I can’t sit up from a lying position without first rolling onto my side. I walk hunched over much of the time because standing strait sometimes makes the pain worse. I cannot cough, sneeze, laugh, yell or blow my nose without bending over and splinting my belly and God help me if a sneeze catches me off guard! Of course running or most exercise is out of the question. I can walk, but not for long, extended periods. I can dance, (badly)…but carefully and not for long, I can’t lift more than 10 lbs, can’t pull wet towels out of the washer, I can’t eat red meat, raw veggies or fruits, fiber, nuts or seeds or dairy, I can’t do much of what a normal healthy person can do…somedays I can’t leave my bed or couch due to the pain in my abdomen. When I do leave my house, I put on my “normal face”…I walk straight even if it hurts, I smile at people and chat with people, I get my groceries and put them in my car…I’m so good at my act people have no clue how I’m really feeling…but what they don’t see is me getting into my car and driving away sobbing…but  CAREFULLY sobbing, because I don’t want to cause more pain…getting home and waiting for the garage door to shut so I can walk all hunched over, crying, holding my belly, carrying in the groceries and putting them away…then laying in the fetal position, as still as I can, while waiting and praying the pain med will atleast take the edge off so I can take a breath without feeling like a knife has been plunged deep into my gut.

My life was completely altered by that botched surgery and the events caused by it. I usually say that I died that day in the operating room…because a part of me truly did. I’m not the same person anymore and never will be whole again. I feel I would’ve been better off for them to have cut off my leg, because atleast that would heal…my insides can’t heal and they can’t just be removed. The pain and scarring from that ordeal is permanent. The change in my psyche is permanent.

Sometimes things happen to us in life, where it’s just not so easy to move on and forget it. When the memory of it hits you in the face everytime you move or cough or take a deep breath…how do you just “get over it already?”

Just as when a loved one dies…who’s to say how long you should grieve? You will never just get over losing that person…your heart will always feel heavy at the thought of them being gone. Or your house burns down, taking everything you own…yes, you can get new stuff and a new house…but its still a trauma that you will carry with you, even if just the fear of fire.

I do what I can to lead a normal life. But it truly is controlled by my pain on most days, even if I can walk and smile my way thru the store or at church…its an act…its not me…because ME is balled up in pain, sobbing and begging God to get me thru the next sixty seconds.

I would honestly give an arm or a leg, if it meant the pain would be gone or even lessened by 50%…maybe then I could “move on” but really I don’t think one ever truly just moves on after a traumatic event in their lives, they just learn to shove it down and hide it from the world, because it’s just not tolerated otherwise.


What kind of hand were you dealt? If you have had a strait flush your whole life…be very grateful…and if your holding jokers like me most of the time…I feel your pain!