Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Caregiver Syndrome Again

I had noticed Mom was not thinking as clearly as usual, so last week I took her to the doctor to have her blood sugar checked. They also took her blood pressure and did a cholesterol panel.

Every one of her numbers was better than mine. Lower blood pressure, better fasting blood sugar, and lower cholesterol. I stared at those results, comparing them with my own, and resentment toward my mother rose like bile in my throat.

I'm so sad and frustrated and TIRED. I know it isn't easy having Alzheimer's disease and I know that Mom has trials to bear that have to do with the forbearance necessary to cope with being an invalid. For the most part, she's borne these trials with grace. BUT-- her life seems so easy by contrast to mine. She sits in her chair and reads her books and listens to music and has all of her meals delivered. If a light is in her eyes, I turn it out. If it's too cool or too warm in her apartment I adjust the temperature. If she's out of toothpaste or soap or washcloths I fetch them for her. I've taken a cat into my home for her sake--A CAT-- (and trust me, this is something I would NEVER have done otherwise) and this particular cat throws up on a regular basis. I clean it up. I could go on at great length (gory detail) about the details of caregiving that I absolutely hate and have to do on a regular basis. Bathing my mother tops the list of the chores that I dread. And here's a ridiculous little confession: I resent paying her bills so much that I usually let her phone bill go overdue. How's that for infantile behavior on my part?

I poured out these complaints to the Lord and heard, "Could it be, Child, that you are not appropriating My strength and My help?"

Well yes probably so. Oddly this did not comfort me today--it just seemed like something else I've failed to do.

I want a break and there's no end in sight. Today I feel utterly frustrated and tired, but I'll get out of bed (where I've taken refuge with my laptop and my coffee cup) and I'll put one foot in front of the other and I know that the Lord will meet me with His strength and His help. I know it because He's been faithful to me every step of the way of this caregiving journey. I praise His Name.

At times I've felt like I might not survive the pressure of taking care of Mom. I've feared that the high cholesterol and stress might cause me to have a heart attack or stroke. The thought's often occurred to me that my mother might outlive me. But when I bring these thoughts to the Lord He's reassured me: "I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done" (Psalm 118:17).

Today I very much want to escape this caregiving burden, but here's my Gethsemane prayer: Thy will be done, Lord.

If it is His will to strengthen me to bear the burden rather than to remove the burden from me, then I will accept His strength.

Scripture: "They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, 'Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.' But I prayed, 'Now strengthen my hands'" (Nehemiah 6:9).


  1. Oh, Aunt Linda I am praying for you. What a wonderful, wise, obedient child of God you are! I too, can really relate to the continual onslaught and drain of being a full-time caregiver to one who has great need. You are doing your daddy God proud. We are all so proud of you. So encouraged by you. So inspired. I wish I could bebop over and give you a break and care for you for awhile, but I am going to pray, pray, pray. I know the Lord is much more able than I and loves you infinitely more than all of us put together, so I am asking Him for extra luvs, hugs, and helps for His Linda.

    Love you - Melody

  2. Linda,

    I'm sorry they changed the title of your book- I like the original! Sometimes you feel like that's everyone that's in your day- God, Mom, Alzheimer's and me. The rest of the world seems to go on it's way!
    I appreciate your post- it makes me feel not quite so bad about my own resentments and irritation. And I've wondered if mine comes because it is my Mother-i-law and not my mother. I don't know if I would do better if it was my Mother. She died almost exactly a year ago, after a struggle with various diseases- which included some dementia. I found it easy to be patient with her, but then I didn't deal with her on an everyday basis.
    Thank you for allowing your journey to minister to others.