Sometimes I am jealous of Lynn. Isn’t that sick? How could any able-bodied individual who is healthy, independent, productive, able to work and function normally be jealous of someone who is totally dependent on someone else for EVERYTHING in his life other than his own thoughts? I must be mentally ill – but there it is, sometimes I get jealous. Just how sick is that? It’s certainly not something I’m proud of but I decided to share this secret, unattractive side of caregiving with you because I expect other caregivers have had that same emotion.
Like being a parent, when I became a full-time caregiver, I committed to that role totally. I ALWAYS put Lynn’s needs ahead of mine except when to do so might cause more harm than good. For example, if he needs to be moved and I haven’t had a chance to eat anything in hours and my blood sugar is crashing, then I may leave him where he is, even if he’s a little uncomfortable, till I can go grab a bite of something to keep me from passing out—not a whole meal, just a snack. However, if he’s really needy one day because he is feeling pretty rotten or achy, chances are I’ll put off eating, going to the bathroom, or completing home/work chores until I can get him at least halfway comfortable. I sympathize with his inability to comfort himself and I show that concern and acknowledge that need by tending to him first. He in turn tries not to ask for anything he absolutely does not need – though sometimes in my jealous state, I question if he REALLY needs to have a particular action done…again….and again.
Truthfully, the jealousy comes when I’m tired or sick or both. When I have had four ½ hours of sleep the night before and I’m on hour 14 since getting up with much still left to be done… when all I want to do is lie down and go to sleep, I become very jealous of the fact that I will make him comfortable and he will immediately fall asleep and nap while I head to the kitchen to prepare meals for the next day or to eat my own dinner or to put in a load of clothes or take a shower or whatever and it will be yet another 2-3 hours before I get to lie down.
I become jealous when I am in pain from my arthritis (which is significant at times). Both hands are painful; I have little strength in them anymore with swollen knuckles, nodules on the bones, and joints that must not have any lubrication left. I cannot take the usual medications that help reduce the effects of arthritis due to being allergic to shellfish and many of the other ingredients in those remedies so I take four Advil usually twice a day to help control it. However, when my hands hurt from the effects of air moving across them yet I still need to pull off his clothes, give him a shower, and then put clothes back on him; I just wish someone else could do it for me.
I sometimes fantasize that I’ll get injured and can’t do his care for a while and I’ll have an excuse to take care of myself. But in the next thought, I remind myself that there would be pain and it would not be a vacation. I guess what I need is respite care. However, that’s easier said than done. Respite care is not paid by insurance so if I obtained it, the money would have to come from somewhere. If I saved enough for respite, then I couldn’t afford to go away and if I didn’t go away, I would be home and he would need my help so that’s not much of a realistic option.
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6 thoughts on “Sometimes I Get Jealous”
Don’t beat yourself up . I too know what you are feeling. Being a caregiver that truly loves the person is not an easy job. We surly deserve a little time wishing things were better for us. I know exactly where you are coming from. I always thought I would give my all to Tom unconditionally and after he was gone I would do all the things I can’t do now. like sleep all night,, be sick in bed . But you know what I am starting to think my turn is not going to happen, now that makes me said, but it doesn’t make me a bad person to wNt something for myself. Hang I. There Donna and give yourself a break there is nothing wrong with being a little selfish .
Thanks Robbi, you’re always so understanding and supportive! I really appreciate your comments.
I found your blog to be extremely enlightening. Would it be possible to e-mail your privately please?
Sorry, Daniela, I just saw this. It was in my spam box. Yes, send me an email to the address listed on my blog home page.
From the other side, I appreciate your honesty and I mourn the losses you have experienced too.