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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!”
- 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 http://bible.com/111/1co.13.13.niv
© 2017, Joanne. All rights reserved.