This time it was a horrid cold that turned into a throat infection and chronic coughing that just devastated my whole system. "Don't do your outside chores Mom; you shouldn't get overheated," said my daughter.
"Oh but it is my joy to water my outdoor plants, and it is the only exercise I get," I replied.
"You need to go to the doctor," said my husband.
"Oh, let's give it another day, I don't feel too badly."
They both gave way to me because I'm the caregiver. I'm the one who analyzes my loved ones' needs and writes prescriptions, so to speak. If my daughter is sick she goes to the doctor if I think she needs to do so. When my mother has a toothache or needs a flu shot, I'm the one who makes the appointments. And my husband now receives yearly physicals as a result of my
And I am a bad patient.
I don't feel comfortable if others "do" for me, I'm only happy if I am doing for others. Thus I do not possess a grace my mother has developed over her years of being an Alzheimer patient; she knows how to be a care recipient. By contrast, I do not know how to ask others to do things for me, I don't take directions well, and I push others away when I'm sick rather than making it clear what I need. When it is all over, I realize how sick I've been and how it would've been nice to have had a caregiver, and I have an unfortunate tendency to use the clear vision of hindsight to tell my loved ones how they should have helped me (even if they were rebuffed)!
I hope to do better. Caregiver syndrome at it's worse creates people who will not take vacations because no one can do without them, can't receive ministry from others because it just doesn't feel right not to be "doing" for them rather than the other way around, and then, when burdens become too heavy, are prone to resentment. I think...I know, I'm suffering from caregiver syndrome.
I'm too tired this evening to think through some strategies for change, but I do know change is needed. I've read that those who will not take time to vacation eventually will have to take time to be ill. I need to heed that wisdom.
Meantime, I'll work on being better about considering suggestions from my husband and daughter when I'm sick. I would have gotten better quicker this time around if I had followed their directions.