Episode 50: I Refuse To Do It!

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What don’t you like to do? 

I draw the line at wound care. If I can see past the first layer of skin and actually be able to recognize that what I’m looking at is internal layers of my husbands body - I’m out! I’m serious. I would rather him stay in the hospital an extra day if that means that something heals up a little more before we go. I don’t always get my way but if I did it would be no open wounds. 

I get it, things are done a specific way because there is medical fact that backs it up. That’s why we go to hospitals in the first place. That doesn’t change the fact that I DON’T have a degree in medicine and I don’t like seeing inside people’s bodies! So if we are getting ready to leave the hospital and he has a dressing on a wound that has been in place for at least half the day I will ask the nurse if they can redress it. My husband’s surgeries are all around his neck and chest so he wouldn’t be able to take care of them if he wanted to.

I also don’t like touching fresh scars. I won’t not touch them but I really have to suck it up when I do. I get that not touching a person’s scar can be a negative experience for them. So I will touch my husband’s scars but I don’t really enjoy it when they are new. 

Since I know that this is the part of caregiving that I do not like to do I find I approach it differently than the rest of the things I feel responsible for. Before I labeled open wounds as a no go I found myself standing in front of one with the pressure of knowing I had to take care of it. It was a lot for me because I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t have the opportunity to psyche myself up for it and I immediately felt sick to my stomach. My nerves were shot for a good two hours after that. 

I just wasn’t ready.

So now I know and I have two choices. I can ask someone to help me do it, which may mean taking him to see a nurse, or do it myself. Most times I do it myself. I’ll make sure that everything is taken care of before we leave the hospital so I won’t have to do it right when we get home.  I’m prepared and I usually have an enjoyable thing to do right after so I can come down from the stress it creates. That is just a small blip in my caregiving world. It happens occasionally. I’ve learned how to set myself up for success and I let myself be ok with not being ok with it. 

We don’t have to like everything that we have to do. You’ll never find me flitting around the house changing bandages, making meals, cleaning the house all while singing with a magical bird like snow white. 

No. Caregiving isn’t usually magical.  

But, we do have the ability to decide not to do some things. Think about one or two caregiving tasks that you really hate to do. Maybe you don’t like cooking all the time. Possibly your spouse is bed bound and it’s really hard for you to give them a bath.  

Find the thing that makes you feel like crying when you know you have to do it soon.  

It’s ok.  

We all have that thing.  

It’s ok to not do it all. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t mean that you are giving up or weak if you ask for help!! If you are responsible for ALL the meal making and that means that at three meals a day for at least two people that’s 42 meals a week and just hearing that stresses you out then don’t make all the meals. If you have the means you can have specific days that you plan to order dinner or even lunch. Maybe it isn’t the meal making but the meal planning so you try a meal delivery service. Possibly you’d like to save money but have people in your life that would be more than happy to cook for you and you set up a schedule with them. Or when people ask how they can help just ask for them to give you gift cards to your favorite restaurant or dinner delivery service. Maybe someone you know really likes to meal plan and you can have them come in and organize the food you have in the freezer into meals you can throw into a crockpot on days you need a break. Is it the grocery shopping that is just too much? Is there someone you know that could do it for you? Or is there a group of friends that can pitch in to pay for a grocery delivery service subscription? 

You just have to get creative. That’s six different ideas on how to lighten up the load with dinner and I know there’s more. So think of something you’d like to not do and see if there are ways to get help with that and if the solution doesn’t show up right away just put it out there and see what happens. Maybe you find yourself talking to a friend tomorrow and you mention you listened to this episode and you talk about what one thing you’d stop doing if someone else could do it for you. They might help you find the answer. 

I’d love to hear what one thing you wouldn’t do if you didn’t have to. Share with me here.

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