After your loved one comes home, you will still be adjusting to a new normal. It all depends on how sick he was. Was it a serious stroke or one that has not had much in terms of limitations? Did he have a heart attack? Is she adjusting to a batch of new meds? Has she had surgery and is still reeling from a difficult diagnosis? Whatever it is, it will take awhile for you both to adjust.
Give yourselves some time to make the adjustment to this new set of circumstances. Both of you are still recovering. He is recovering from the physical and emotional effects of the actual disease/surgery. You are suffering from the emotional effects for sure. It will take a little while to get back on an even keel.
Here are some brief recommendations to help you develop this new normal.
1. Don’t dwell on the “what-ifs”
- What-if he has an emergency I can’t handle? You will call 9-1-1 and do what they tell you to do.
- What-if he stops breathing? You will decide if he is choking and do the Hiemlich’s on him. Then you will call 9-1-1 if you need more help.
- What-if he has another stroke/heart attack/incident? You will take a deep breath, let it out, and do what you need to do at the time depending on the circumstances.
- What-if…and the list goes on…especially at night!
2. Cultivate a calm attitude.
I know this won’t happen overnight, but particularly if you have a family member who has neurological issues, you need to cultivate a calm demeanor. People with neurological issues tend to have a sixth sense regarding people who are anxious…and it can be contagious. They may even have dementia, but they sense your attitude. Are you rushed? impatient? Anxiety does no good for either caregivers or the people they care for. Taking a few slow, deep breaths will definitely help, for sure!
Of course, this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. If you are truly anxious, it is very difficult to appear calm when you are anxious. Learning to pray when you begin to feel anxious about something will help a lot. One of the scary things about being in charge of someone who is sick is that you often feel totally in charge of the outcome of their condition. It is easy to feel anxious in the situation! That’s why we need to pray. We need to ask GOD for the “little” things. They are the things that promote
3. Don’t ever say, “I have no choice.”
You always have a choice. Make sure you think through what the choices are so you are totally aware of the choices you are making. When you choose no, it is a choice. When you choose to walk away from something, it is still a choice. The more you become aware of your choices, the less helpless you will feel regarding your choices…even if you aren’t thrilled about some of the choices you are left with.
It will help your attitude and will avoid some of the feelings of helplessness and victimhood you would be tempted to feel if you weren’t aware that you had a choice. There are pros and cons with every choice. You may not always like the choices you have, but you still have choices within those parameters. Along with the big choices, you can choose your attitude for each day. Will it be one of joyfully serving GOD and your loved one or of choosing to serve yourself?
4. Develop a routine for medications and treatments that works best for what he needs and for what you can manage.
We love those plastic containers that you put a week’s supply of pills in. Ron has the kind that split up morning and evening pills. I have the kind that I fill for the day (also a week at a time.) As we need our pills for the day, we take them out. It is easy to tell at a glance if we took our pills for any given day. By setting up your pills a week in advance, you have warning when your pills run low and can get refills before you are completely out of medications.After your loved one comes home, you will still be adjusting to a new normal. Give yourselves some time to adjust to it. Be patient with yourself on your bad days...as well as your loved one. #notesforcaregivers,… Click To Tweet
5. Develop a routine for healthy living
Make the changes you need to, to get the healthy things worked into your lifestyle. This includes such things as exercise, whatever it takes to eat right, get housework done, get time for fun as well and learn how to make adjustments to your new normal. As you can tell, many of these steps overlap.
6. Have the list of medications handy
Have them either on your phone/in your notebook/on a piece of paper that you have with you. This will always be available to you when you go to see the doctor or if you are in the ER. (I have mine on the phone in my purse.) It’s easy to update if doses change or medications are changed.
7. Have one place to put all your doctor and therapy appointments.
Often in the early days, you will have more of these to keep track of. If you don’t know how to manage the app on your phone for appointments, ask a friend to help you figure it out. I put all my doctors in my contacts including their addresses. That way, I can easily look them up on my phone to call quickly. Occasionally, I forget the name of a doctor. But I have put all their names in starting with dr. so all I have to do is search for “dr.” and I get a whole list of all our doctors! It ‘s one little secret for people like me who are forgetful. By having the addresses there, I don’t have to hunt all over for the address either.will be worth its weight in gold. Once an appointment is in the app, if it gets changed, all you have to do is change the date or time, you don’t have to change the whole thing. It’s great! If you want it to have an alarm on it, you can do that. It’s great!
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
Isaiah 26:3-4 ESV
I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:1-2 ESV