Being a Caregiver When I Needed a Caregiver

Lately, it seems like all I have been doing is caring for others in my family. I’m not complaining because I am one that loves to care for others when they need it. I have always had that tendency to try to help others. It seems to be hardwired in my DNA.

You know what else is hardwired? My psoriatic arthritis. Years worth of arthritis damage has dealt my body some hard blows. It makes it difficult on even the best days to care for those I love. By extending myself beyond what I normally do in a day I put myself in pain. For the last eight weeks, I have been in high demand to help care for loved ones.

How did I help my children and grandchildren?

Seven of those eight weeks, I was with my son and daughter-in-law who were expecting their second child. Happy times for any family as it was with ours. The first three weeks, I helped to get the nursery completely ready and moved their first daughter from one room to the other. The days were filled with caring for my granddaughter and my kids by helping to clean, cook, move things, and playing with my granddaughter.

What impact did it have on my psoriatic arthritis?

While it was great helping in that way, it was so tiring and painful on my back. Every night I would lay down and my back would hurt so bad. I knew I was stressing it and overworking it every day, but I choose to do so. The four weeks after that was spent helping to care for the newborn baby. Multiple times of picking up a 9-pound newborn wreaked havoc on my back.

Why did I help my aunt?

The eighth week I spent taking care of my aunt. She has a heart condition in which she keeps throwing blood clots. They have her on medication, but it is not stopping the clots. After her last stay in the hospital, the doctors ordered her a cardiac life support vest because she is not strong enough to handle surgery to put a pacemaker in. The cardiac doctor knows she has more blockages but there is nothing they can do about it either. This vest will act just like a pacemaker in that it will send shocks to her heart if it detects that her heart has stopped. She now wears this vest 24/7 with the only exception coming when she takes a shower. What this means is now she can never be alone.

How did I help her?

Her oldest daughter takes care of her most days because she lives right next door and works from home. However, during the first or second week of the month she needs to go see clients. This would mean my aunt would have to be at home alone. My cousin asked if I could come stay with her for the week so she could do her job. My aunt and I are super close. I am more than happy to go help take care of her. My body is not so happy. My aunt has a platform that looks like a ramp that goes from the living room into the kitchen because her living room is a step-down room, and she can’t really take climbing steps body would hurt so bad every day.

Will I have to stop caring for others?

As I said, caring for others is hardwired in my DNA. I don’t want to think of a time when I can’t take care of someone I love. However, I do worry that the more the psoriatic arthritis progresses I will have to make that hard choice. I hope one day soon that I can find something that works to stop the progression of the psoriatic arthritis. Right now, the medication I am on for psoriasis does not do anything for the arthritis. Do I continue to take the medication that works for my psoriasis, or do I switch to something that may work on both conditions? I’m not sure what I need to do but at my upcoming appointment I do believe my doctor and I will be having a serious discussion.

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