What do you do with your anger? Our world has enough stress in it right now, adding caregiving on top of it creates a whole new kind of pressure. I know that I wasn’t the wonderful, kind loving person that the last couple of posts seem to paint me. I got plenty frustrated at Joe and it built into anger.
For example, we went through a lot of health care aides for a while. Joe was not very nice to these wonderful people who would come in and give him a shower, dress him and make sure he ate. On the whole, most of these ladies were kind, wonderful people. Joe would make them cry. He was mean. He’d call them names. I had one wonderful woman who would cry almost every night when I came home, but she kept coming back. Some of them didn’t.
He would tell them he wanted to wait for me to come home and give him a shower. We had done this for several years previously because he was mostly ambulatory but needed help in the shower. As his physical condition got worse he needed help to walk (fall risk) and get around and so we were able to get the home aides. I was working full time to support us, and by the time I got home, made dinner and then give him a shower, I was so tired. I was already running exhausted all the time and his meanness with the aides just put me over the edge.
I had already talked to Joe (nicely) about being nice to the aides. I had encouraged him to take his showers during the day so I wouldn’t have that burden with him in the evening. We’d had a lot of talks about this. He’d say he just didn’t like them or they wouldn’t take care of him his way (which was to leave him alone).
After the fourth or fifth aide had come and gone I lost it. I yelled. I hollered. I blew my stack. I told him straight out that if he made it so I had to quit work to take care of him, he would regret every minute I was home. I told him if he didn’t straighten up I would slam him in a nursing home and never visit. There was a few other threats, but you get the idea.
It worked. At least for a bit of time. We also got an aide who had a thick skin and wouldn’t take the “guff” from him. I thanked God for her everyday, she was that good. She stayed with Joe up to the time I did put him in a nursing home because his medical needs were getting overwhelming for me and for the aides and the Home Health Care Nurses were coming more and more frequently.
I know I shouldn’t have blown up on him that way, but what do you do with all that frustration that builds up? It’s so hard to get any time to yourself, but I’d manage an hour or two on the weekends and that helped. I also had a counselor that I could vent to and a couple of friends that I would talk to. My faith also helped to temper much of my emotion. I look back on this time now and I feel some guilt for acting that way. But we are all on a “Learning Curve” so to speak. Most of us are thrown into caregiving without warning and the “Learning Curve” is very steep. So, even though I know I wasn’t my best person at that time, I forgive myself for acting that way and move forward. It’s the best thing to do.