Burned out Taking Care of Asthma?
"Burnout can occur when caregivers don't get the help they need, or if they try to do more than they are able -- either physically or financially."
"Caregivers who are "burned out" may experience fatigue, stress, anxiety, and depression. Many caregivers also feel guilty if they spend time on themselves rather than on their ill or elderly loved ones."
I have asthma, as do all three of my college aged kids, so I know how hard it can be.
I tell young moms that it does get better! My kids were hospitalized a lot when they were young (mostly due to pneumonia, or smoke from forest fires.) So, it can really consume your day (and night.) It seems like the kids would always get worse at night.
I was constantly checking on my kids when they were sick. They had a habit of going from bad to worse VERY quickly. I kept a close eye on the clock to see if it was time for the next dose of their controller inhaler, nebulizer treatment, antibiotic or oral steroid.
I would carefully wash out the nebulizer kit and making sure I had enough vials of Albuterol. I would check their controller inhalers to make sure they had enough doses.
In our house, it wasn’t usually just one kid that was sick. No matter how carefully I cleaned doorknobs, remotes, and nagged everyone to carefully wash their hands, the sickness would spread through the family.
Caregiving when sick
It’s also hard to be the caregiver when you are sick too! Like most moms, I powered through it. A dragged myself through the day after a sleepless nights of staying awake to give breathing treatments and watch the kids for any signs that they needed to go to the hospital.
I somehow stumbled through piles of laundry and found something to make for dinner - even if I didn’t have time to go to the grocery store. And loading the kids up in the car to head to the drive through was out of the question. They were usually too sick for a car ride.
On top of that, we are part of the “sandwich generation’. Not only are we caring for kids, but also elderly parents. Many times, we would get a call and have to quickly drive 4 hours to be at a parent’s bedside after they had a heart attack, stroke, or fall that caused broken bones.
Asking for help
I learned that you can’t do it all, and it’s okay to ask for help. And it’s okay to say no.
I also learned that as a mom, I have to take care of myself first, or I couldn’t function. I learned that skipped meals and too little sleep led to migraines. Or I was so run down that I couldn’t fight off a cold and would end up with pneumonia too.
I learned that yoga (as bad as I am) seemed to calm me down and help me feel more peaceful.
I learned that keeping a gratitude journal helped me see the good in life, and to look for the small victories.
I learned that talking to friends (especially friends that have kids with chronic illnesses too) helped me. Because they “get it.”
I learned that watching funny videos seemed to lift our spirits.
What have you learned? And what do you do to take care of yourself?
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