Friday, December 21, 2007

My Heart Goes Out to Caretakers

For the last few days, I have pretty much been the caretaker for my nine-year-old son. For those of you who have never had to do this, trust me on this, it is exhausting.

My son had surgery a few days ago and could barely walk for a few days. This meant that he spent a lot of time on the couch and anytime he needed food or anything, I would get it for him.

The first day wasn't too bad, except I was extremely tired as I didn't sleep more than about two hours the night before. He would ask for pancakes, or toast, and/or juice and I would happily, but groggily get it for him. Heck, I might as well have been whistling a happy tune as I lovingly made him the pancakes, toast and/or juice. I was his mommy and I was taking care of him. Awwwwww.

The second day, still not much sleep as I would check on him, oh say, every couple of hours throughout the night. I was very sleepy, and a bit grumpy, but still trying to keep his spirits up all the while getting his pancakes, toast, and/or juice. It seemed that every time I would finally get a chance to put my feet up and rest, it would happen. I would just get my eyes closed and get all relaxed when I would hear, "Mom. Would you please...." and it was either food, drink, or restroom. Ummmph. "Ok son, I will be there in a sec..." and I would about crawl to help him.

The third day I was so tired but he still needed help so I did what I could to make him comfortable. It was weird to me that I was getting irritated that he needed help and I just didn't want to make the food, drink, or restroom trips as I wanted a break too. But, he is my son and I love him so much so of course, I helped him. But, I was surprised to feel almost bothered that I had to help. I felt like a jerk. Cripes. This is my son, my little man, my cutie boy, and here I was getting irritated that I had to be bothered to help. Again, I will say it out loud, I felt like a jerk.

I can't imagine being elderly and having to help a sick spouse, yet I know there are people all over the world who are in that predicament. I am betting they want a break, a day off, or some rest and relaxation; but that day will never come. I never knew how exhausting it could be taking care of someone. I am lucky that I am in pretty good health and I knew that there would be an end to my being his caretaker for his every need. What about the people who are sick themselves? Who aren't strong enough to lift a person? Who know that they won't get a break? I wonder if they start to feel resentful towards the person they are caring for.

I didn't resent my son, but I can see how that could happen if it went on for a very long time with no end in sight. I wish that anyone who is caring for someone, I hope that a friend, relative, or anyone who cares, I hope that someone offers to sit with the sick person and give the caretaker a break, even if for only an hour or so. How sweet would it be to even let them go in another room and take a nap? I think it would give them a much needed break and lift their spirits so they can give the care that is needed with a happy heart, not a bitter one.

My son is much better now, but I really learned a lot this week. Caring for someone is very demanding and exhausting. It does feel good to know I took care of him when he needed me, but it was a lot of work. My heart goes out to caretakers.
(c) 2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.