The following message is for anyone taking care of a loved one or anyone that is a caregiver! AND it is dedicated to Polly and all of the wonderful caregivers at Roper Hospital and Roper Rehab! YOU ROCK!
Over the past 4 weeks Polly and TheFatGuy have been working to give her mom (Effie) the best care possible in Roper Hospital, then a sub acute care facility (which will remain nameless), back to Roper, and now in Roper Rehab acute care. It has been an investment of time, love, energy, tears, and more time. There seems like a severe shortage of time these days to cover everything that needs doing.
So, what's TheFatGuy to do?
First, Polly and TheFatGuy both love her mom dearly and would do anything in the world to help her live a happy healthy life. All of the 'investment' made by Polly and TheFatGuy has been worth it now that Effie is in Roper Acute Care Rehab. They are doing a wonderful job taking care of her and working with her to regain the use of her right arm and leg due to a stroke while working with and around a fractured pelvis. The many hours in the hospital, on the phone, checking out facilities, and checking in with family/friends is paying off! Thanks to all family, friends, Roper staff, and most importantly God for being with Polly and TheFatGuy during this time.
Second, the amount of time invested with Effie's care has been overwhelming at times. You begin to struggle with: when do you NEED to be with her, how long should you stay, are you doing enough, what is enough, and the questions go on. It is hard and it is overwhelming, though positive results make it worth the investment. A finger moved is a celebration these days! Yet there remains one more question!
How do I take care of ME, while taking care of YOU?
Lastly, this is a hard thing to think about for anyone that is a caregiver and anyone that is caring for a loved one. Whether you are a health care professional or a loved one, YOU need to think about this question. TheFatGuy did some very intentional things to stay on track while dealing with a bout of stress eating and inconsistent logging of food intake!
- He intentionally made sure he got some sort of exercise each day. TheFatGuy and Polly purchased their Christmas present early which is the Total Gym XLS! He has worked through each routine on the exercise cards provided over the past few weeks. This gift was timely as he can do some intense workouts on the fly without leaving his house!!
- He has worked to make sure he spends some quality time with Polly and other loved ones in his life. It has not always been easy, but much needed. All of these people are great support systems in good times and tough times. Always remember that!
- He has worked to make sure he and Polly still attend some outside functions/events. This has been important to both of them. They cannot do everything they want but they can schedule and commit to 'some' things. Dr. J, of Dr.J & TheFatGuy, invited Polly and TheFatGuy to a brunch she and a friend were having last Sunday. This event was intentionally put on the calendar and committed to, as both Polly and TheFatGuy knew they would need some change of pace and a break at this point. It turned out to be a great break for a few hours last Sunday afternoon! Enough time to recharge but not so much that guilt snuck into their minds and hearts!
At this point you may be thinking, 'why is this all so important?'
Check out TheFatGuy's story and you will know why! He ignored taking care of himself for many periods during his life to help improve various operations, organizations, and people find success in life. Finally, he totally invested himself in saving a nonprofit for 3 1/2 years while ignoring his own health/wellness and many key people in his life. This behavior helped many young people while leaving TheFatGuy with 360 pounds of unwanted weight and all of the health and life issues that accompany that obesity! It has taken a committed journey and some work on his part, but he is pretty sure he is a LOT BETTER at helping others now that he is doing a better job of taking care of himself. There is a delicate balance some days, but he works to have the right systems and mindset in place to best take care of him so he can best take care of and help others he loves in his life.
Note to ME and YOU: Take care of YOU so you can be the BEST YOU to take care of others in your life! YOU ARE WORTH IT AND SO ARE THEY!
PS Thanks again to ALL of the wonderful people at ROPER!