Monday, February 24, 2014

Caregivers and Medication

"I can't take another day"...How many caregivers have heard this or even said it to themselves?

Even as open as we are here on Mp, there is always more to what someone posts. Just stands to reason.

When I read about the struggles the caregiver/family member goes through it makes me sad. Sad cause I know as a patient that I would do anything to make this journey easier for me wife. Anything.

But I can't. What I do is make things more difficult. Why? Because I have dementia. I do things I shouldn't. I forget things constantly. I make her life miserable at times.

She never complains. But I know it's true. Any caregiver or family member who deals with this have had days where they just want to chuck it all in.

The only thing I can suggest is medication. Now is about the time you are thinking "Here we go. More meds, now for me, the caregiver".

But it's true. Stress is the most dangerous thing we deal with as patients and caregivers. Heart attacks are the number one killer and heart attacks are associated with stress. Stress can and does kill. And you cannot escape stress. You just can't.

To do so you would have to be able to be in a zen mode all the time. Where nothing bothered you and you just wouldn't allow anything to bother you.

We all know this could never happen. Most of us get worked up over the smallest of things. From our loved one not showering, to them back talking you. To flipping through the channels on TV.

To being mean and vindictive. Hateful in some cases. All of these things and many, many more you will never be able to fix. I talk about this all the time.

You cannot fix what is happening. You can at times do things to make a situation better. Or mis-direct the conversation to something else, or just agree with them.

But I can tell you that caregivers need something to take the edge off. Not something that will make them zombie like or anywhere near that.

But something that will make it so they can effectively do what needs be done, but yet be able to handle all the madness that goes with this disease.

My wife is on medication to do just that. Very mild, tension relievers. Something that can indeed help her cope with her daily living as well as the absurd things I do.

It's a constant battle. A juggling of sorts. One you will never win, but need to be able to know what is serious, and what is more of a discomfort.

Your loved one not showering is not serious. As much as it seems to you at the time, them not taking a shower or bath for a few days is not going to change the course of the world.

Not going to a doctor's appointment fits in this category as well. When you are in mid to late stage of this disease, if the patient does not want to go to the doctor, and simply refuses, making them is not the answer.

Nothing is going to change most likely from one doctor appointment to the next. Now if there is indeed a medical emergency of some sort this all changes.

What I am trying to get across is caregivers need stress relievers. If it's in the form of some type of nerve medication, so be it. You need something to take the edge off.

To realize what is and what isn't going to change things if the patient refuses. Many times we read posts about how the patient hasn't taken their medication.

Again, you have to pick your battles. I have gone days without taking my medication. Not because I refuse, but because I forget. They can be lying here right in front of me on the table and I won't take them.

It doesn't resonate. But it's not the end of the world. Phyllis June has learned long ago if I miss a round of drugs some mornings, some evenings, or even all day, most likely nothing is going to change.

She doesn't go spastic about my idiosyncrasies. She tries her best to roll with the flow. How can she? She takes meds to help her cope with all of this.

They don't change a thing, they don't make her outlook on this disease any better or worse. They simply help her cope with what is happening.

The same way with some of the medication I am on. I don't notice a difference in me, but others around me do. And that is how these meds are supposed to work.

Know this, just being a caregiver does not seclude you from stress. In fact, being a caregiver makes you more susceptible to stress. And there are things that can be prescribed to help you with these stressful days.

It's nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact it can and probably will make you a better caregiver in the long run. Simply because the chances of you dying from stress related situations are minimized...

You can't help anyone if this disease gets the best of you, the family member or the caregiver...
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