Being a caregiver

In Sickness and In Health

One year ago I watched my husband awake from heart surgery. He had all sorts of tubes coming out of his body, all hooked up to different machines. One to help him breathe. Several to monitor his heart. Some to drain excess fluids out of his body. It was not a pretty sight. Although he was awake, I didn’t know if he was even aware of anyone being in the room. I stood there with two of our three kids along with our son-in-law as we watched him try to communicate.

It is not an easy thing to watch a spouse deal with health issues.

This wasn’t the first time I had to walk beside him during an illness. That happened almost eleven years ago as he faced down the giant cancer monster. During that time period he endured chemotherapy and eventually a limb amputation.

These are the things you face sometimes as a family – in a marriage – in life. It’s not always sunshine and lollipops. Sometimes it’s dark and scary and will knock you to your knees and sometimes nothing nor no one can prepare you for it.

When you become the caregiver of a loved one, you have to learn how to de-stress.  Here are my tips.

  1. Friends. Have someone you can talk to, laugh with, even share tears with. Having a friend simply send a text saying “how are you holding up?” can mean the world!
  2. Church. When we dealt with cancer, we were not involved with a church so we did not have that support system back then. It was different last year after his surgery. Having church friends praying for your family and visiting the hospital and even during the recovery at home was a huge blessing. Also, having people bringing cooked meals to your home is a huge weight off of the caregiver. I recommend using Take Them A Meal which makes it easy for everyone involved.
  3. Take a walk by yourself. Leave the dog. Leave the kids if you have them. Just grab your iPod or phone, play some favorite music, and walk through the neighborhood or a local park. Clear your mind of any worries and just take in the sounds of nature and breathe in the fresh air.
  4. Get a Massage. I admit, I haven’t done this is a LONG time but at the suggestion of my own doctor during our cancer-fighting days, I went to the local Women’s Center and got a full body massage. There is nothing that compares to the relaxation that comes with a full massage. Just writing this makes my neck tingle as if it’s saying “yes we need this right now!”
  5. Treat yourself. This was my downfall to some weight gain so take it easy with this suggestion. But a trip to a local ice cream parlor can do wonders. Or have a glass of wine while sitting on your back porch. Just taking the time to relax all alone and collect your thoughts can be a wonderful recharge.

Surviving storms together – that’s what true love is all about.  For better or worse.  In sickness and in health.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

© 2017, Joanne. All rights reserved.

26 thoughts on “In Sickness and In Health

  1. Have you ever considered creating an e-book or guest authoring on other sites? I have a blog based on the same information you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my readers would appreciate your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e mail.

  2. Marriage life is not as easy as many think. You only feel the pinch when you get into it. I agree with you about taking walks on your own. It does really help in difficult situations.

  3. I hope your husband is doing better.
    This is a very useful list. I think for secular people a support group could replace number 2.
    I’ve never been through a long term illness with my husband but I’ve seen him go through some slightly over minor stuff and it’s hard, especially on our daughters.

    1. It does take its toll on a family unit, that is for certain. And yes any good support system, even if just friends or other family members, can be a huge help.

  4. Having a church group for support does make a nice difference. And yes, surprises can knock us off of our feet.

  5. I hope your hubby is doing much better now. In times of sickness, we learn who our true friends are and test our metier. It is humbling and a time of growth. Your tips are a great way to find some respite.

    1. Thank you. I am lucky in the fact that he is doing well. There are curve balls in life and sometimes we learn the hard way how to deal with them.

  6. Sorry to hear about your husband. It is very stressful to be the caregiver of a loved one. These are some great tips you listed here.

    1. Thank you very much. I never once felt burdened as it is my very nature to care for other people. But it definitely is an eye-opener to the fragility of life and health.

  7. This is a touching story. I can’t imagine how hard it is to see your loved one go through all that. And I defiantly can image how it is to be you the one who goes through all that and see the one you love talking care of you more that she/he takes of himself. It’s really hard. Hope life will give you only happiness from now on. I’m so happy to read about a strong love that wasn’t destroyed by those problems.

  8. This such a touching story thank you for sharing. Love is all about learning and growing together and being there for each other even during the hard times

    1. Thank you. I did visit your post – I’m so very new at this and appreciate all of the great sites and writing styles.

  9. I can feel the calmness in this post. You have definitely been through a lot. I’m thankful to God you made it. I’ve been in the operating room a couple of times and I’ve watched stuff happen. No one should see their loved one in such state. May God continue to give you strength. Lovely suggestions here!

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