January 15

Where have I been? A Caregiver’s Life

Hello Underdogs. As you know, I am a caregiver but many of you may not understand what this means. This means that I provide help for those who need it medically. That is from cooking, to cleaning to giving medicine and so much more.  I love blogging but times like these make it very tough to keep on top on anything outside of the people that I take care of and help. I know that I made it a goal to post on the proper days and be consistent. That goal, along with a lot of things in life went out the window on Sunday. I also want to give a small glimpse of what it is like for those who are caregivers. Every story is different, and person has different needs. In the United States alone, there are over 31% of households that have a full time family caregiver. This is a person  is a family member or friend who takes the place of medical professionals that are very costly, and insurance may not cover. There is very little help out there for people who take on this role. Most work full time jobs as well as taking care of people full time. I take care of two people full time, but between those hours, I can’t work “a real job.” Many caregivers like me are laughed at and taunted because in the eyes of many, we “don’t work.”

I am personally very tired of how we caregivers are treated or seen. It has never been by any people in the medical field that I have worked with, or friends. This all comes from family members (not all) who claim to know more yet never visit or help. People who know the health of the people I take care of who feel they know the situation better, or those who just can’t understand that if you don’t punch a time clock, you aren’t working. While many of them work a 9-5 job, I work 12 to 24 hours a day. For example, on Sunday night, I had to wake up and give med every single 15 minutes for 24 hours. When I hoped for a difference the next day, I got one. Instead of every 15 minutes, it went to every 10 minutes for the next 24 hours. Then every half hour for the next 24 hours. I didn’t sleep for 3 days. We were in the hospital for 6 days. That doesn’t mean that was the only thing I had to worry about, because I take care of another person too. I also have dogs, and once in awhile, I need to remember that I have my own things going on that need attention as well.

Life doesn’t stop moving even though you world is crumbling, however life demands that you adjust quickly. I remember the day my Dad died this though kept  going in my mind. My entire world shattered, so how were other people walking around and living their life as if nothing happened. How were people able to smile, and drive, and shop, and eat when my entire life had ended in that moment. And my life did end at the moment because  the person I was, and wanted to be died in order to start taking care of other people who needed it. I’m not trying to sound selfish or dramatic because what needed to be done, had to be done. I wouldn’t change any of it, except the heartache that I get from so many people who claim that this isn’t work. I have never worked more hours, or harder ever in my entire life.

As a caregiver, you have these earth shattering moments more often than you may realize. This week was a big one, and I realized how hard it is to continue to find a balance. I had to put aside some things that I wanted to do, and things I even committed to in order to provide the new level of help that is needed. I also have that other pesky thing called paying the bills. Caregivers don’t get help, and I’m not trying to say whoa is us! There is nothing available to any of us even though our work saves millions of dollars from insurance money to medical bills, to the government. While there is savings for the person, and those agencies, it comes to great financial cost to those who are the caregivers. The percentage of those who can get some help is very little because there are so many hoops to jump through. To date, only 12 states have some sort of program to help assist caregivers, and I don’t live in those states. There are over 70 million of us unpaid caregivers who keep working our insane hours, but can’t even be seen as a person who works a real job. It’s a tough place to be in.

I will never change the time I have helped and worked as a caregiver. I will continue to do so as long as needed.  There is no work that I have done that is more important. I have never hurt so much, or seen the very best of people. You see more about life in these horrible situations than you will ever realize. Those give you moments of hope, and moments to realize the world isn’t so terrible. I can’t ever become a nurse after this, even though I highly admire all of them for there difficult work. They are under appreciated, overworked, and underpaid. While we caregivers have little to no chance to get paid for the work we do, these wonderful nurses need to be recognized for all of their hard work, and all they do. I find that we all work together for the best instance for the people we take care of. We are a team that work together, and that relationship is very important.

If this may seem jumbled, it is because it is. I want this to be realistic, because as a caregiver, you life is in jumbles. Nothing is easy from point A to point B. Every single day, curve balls are thrown that may be a game changer. No two days are alike, and you may have to adjust minute by minute. When you fail, it could mean life or death. There is a lot of heartache, a lot of depression, and a lot of devastation. My goal is to have caregivers recognized as people who work real jobs, with real work. This is why I do anything that I can to “hustle” some money now and then because I’m not “working a real job,” but have real bills. I find good and happiness while I can which includes blogging. I love blogging so much and that can keep me going some days. I can hope someone who is a caregiver like me may read this and understand that they aren’t alone. Life is hard, but you are appreciated. You do the hard work that no one sees, but it doesn’t make it any less real or important.  You are amazing, loved and supported, even if you don’t realize it! Keep doing the great work because it matters, and you matter!

I’m going to leave you with a small change to my format. I will only be posting 3 days a week instead of 4. I may do the 4th when I am able. The posting dates will remain the same, I just may not get ever single Sunday done. I love blogging so much, and in order to keep going I need make a few adjustments. I hope you all can stay with me during this adjustment phases, and keep coming back to read and comment on my posts. Thank you all who have been there and keep coming back to this page!

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