Care Giver Stress and Burn Out and Solutions
by Judy Leeson
(Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)
Nurse and Compassionate Dedicated Care Giver
Father died 8 months ago. Before he died I was in therapy for domestic violence, 5 years physical 25 years emotional.
During that time my father had developed Alzheimer's. I was made the P.O.A. over my parent’s affairs, since I have no other brothers or sisters. I was watching my father’s decline and visiting my mother whom I had to place into a retirement home. After my ex took me to court 10 different times, and kept getting his spousal support reduced (in which he has paid none and still has not, the whole time and broke every court order) I still was very attentive and made sure my parent’s needs were met as best I could. I visited every 3 days, took them out for special holidays etc., while making my own transformation to myself, and to became stronger within myself, and my own healing process. My father only came back to me once in the 4 years all this was happening. He gave me a very special I Love you hand sign to me that only my family knows. That meant the world to me and I will hold it dearly in my heart forever.
At the last court date the judge ordered my ex that, he was not allowed to ever take me back to court again. My father showed an interest in this. It was, the last time that I saw him in this way. 4 days later I had to admit him, into the hospital R/T heart problems. For a month and half I along with my mother saw him every day except on Saturday and Sunday.
My 3 children could not handle the stress of seeing him in that state. My son tried once, but could not handle seeing him in that way, so he never went back. One of my other children was out across the country expecting twins and was having complications with the pregnancy so she could not fly to see him (which I totally agreed with her).
So Mon-Fri, every day I would go pick up my mum and stop at the coffee shop and bring my dad his "spot of tea". But being a retired nurse, I was watching the rapid decline of him and trying to explain to my mum what was going on with him, and fighting for my dad's wishes, which was a "no code." That was a battle, on its own. They were going to transfer him, to another hospital. He came around so that stopped the transfer and kept him there.
I told them it was natural that he was going to die in the next few days. But the staff and Drs. would not believe me. Well 4 days later he was in his bed doing the death rattle, but the interns did not believe me, and so, I got mad and told them that they should go back to school, that my father was dying and he needed his med and a priest here NOW! And I demanded for his last rights to be performed. After an hour of waiting and no meds given to him to help his comfort, I flip out again. The head Dr. finally came in and demanded that my Dad be given his med state and the priest was there within 5 minutes. The head Dr. did apologize for the mistake that the staff made. He gave me and my mom his deepest apology for his staff‘s mistakes. My Dad died as soon as his last rights were given to him with a look of peace on his face.
Then I had to make the funeral arrangements because my mother really did not want to do it but I made her come and make some decisions. Then I had my mother move back in with me because she could not afford to live where she was. The next day after that we had a small funeral the way my Dad wished. The following day we had a small Catholic service. Then it was Saturday and I thought I could sleep in. But my Mum work me up stating that I had enough sleep, and I became her full time care giver 24\7 until a few months ago when I got some help 5 days a week 1-5;30 Mon to Fri. But it is still not enough. I am so stressed out.
I came across information about Hans Selye. So I am seeing a therapist and doing the stress techniques. I also have been reading about and doing as much research as I can to find help because I really need it. And if all of this really will help anyone in just one small little way than for me it will be all worthwhile. Thank you for allowing, me to write this down because it is the first time I have ever done it and it if it helps someone else then all the better.