When the Caregiver Needs Caregiving

So I’m sick, but it’s no big deal. I have swollen glands and I’m fatigued, but this happens to me from time-to-time. My immune system hasn’t been the same since I got mononucleosis years ago. Epstein Barr virus is responsible for mono, and once you have that in your system, it’s always there. Mine is usually dormant, but for now, it isn’t. So here I am, barely strong enough to sit up and type, but stubbornly refusing not to.

I’m sure I’m dealing with this because I’ve been doing too much, but ironically, I’m currently not doing anywhere as much as I did months ago. Perhaps the past year with all of its trials and stresses finally caught up with me.

Needless to say, this will not be a long post. All I’ve done is sleep for the last few days and I will be doing that as soon as I finish writing this.

I mentioned to some of my friends how it is ironic that I’m sick now when mom is doing better, but never even had a sniffle when she was ill and needed me to be strong and healthy for her. One of them explained that it happens that way sometimes. Perhaps there’s a special measure of resilience that kicks in at times like that. Who knows? I certainly wasn’t as aware of my own strength until I went through this, and I’m pretty sure mom feels the same way herself. The truth is there is no way of knowing how you’ll get through something as life altering as cancer until you’re there.

Of course, now we’re here and mom has crossed the invisible threshold from cancer patient to cancer survivor and me, I have no idea when I’ll stop thinking of myself as a caregiver, but I’ll be sure to let you know.

Anyway, since I’ve been sick mom has been taking care of me. The tables have definitely turned and it feels nice. Mom is so proud that she’s now strong enough to care for me. I can see it as she walks away (with her walker!) to make me some tea or a meal. Months ago she wouldn’t have been able to do that even if she’d wanted to, now she has completely taken over running things and I feel so proud of her and also happy for me, because I know my efforts have made this possible.

So yeah, I’m sick, but I’ll be OK. I have a great caregiver, the best one in the world as a matter of fact.

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14 Responses to When the Caregiver Needs Caregiving

  1. Genie says:

    I’ve thought exactly the same thing, Rachel — except for the time I fell on the ice and fractured my spine and mostly minor one-day sniffles or the like, I’ve been surprisingly illness-free for the years I’ve been taking care of my dad. Even as others succumb to the flu or colds or worse and surround me with their germs, I have yet to catch anything that needed taking care of. There have been days when I’ve wanted others to take care of me, and fortunately my niece and nephew helped after that fall, but — like you — I’ve worked on through it.

    Your mom must be tickled pink to be able to take care of her little girl. Though I know she’s sorry you’re punk — as am I — I know she’s grateful she can return the favor. Another blessing :-). Hope you’re feeling better soon and you can both get out and celebrate!

    • Blackbirdsong says:

      Thank you Genie. You definitely know what it’s like to be a caregiver. Yes, mom is happy to take care of me. She’s a sweetheart when she’s not driving me crazy. OK she’s a sweetheart then too.

      We’re definitely ready for a celebration. 🙂

  2. Jinxie G says:

    Rest. You need it and deserve it. I kind of know how you feel in this post with the tables being turned. Same thing happened to me 2 years ago. Quite recently, I’ve seen a strength in my mom that I’ve never seen before. So much has changed in the past few years that I keep looking at this woman and thinking, “Who are you?”

    I’m glad your mom has this opportunity to care for you, hon. God, that must make her feel wonderful.

    *hugs* Get better soon.

    • Blackbirdsong says:

      I definitely understand how it feels to look at someone and think, “who are you?” Mom has shocked me on a regular basis since she got her cancer diagnosis. I was the one crying and she comforted me. My aunt was certain that mom would fall apart, but she never has. I’m so proud and grateful to still have her around.

      *hugs* right back to you 🙂

  3. Les says:

    Hope you get to feeling better.

  4. Carol says:

    Hi Rachel,

    It was good to hear your voice tonight. I have been sick too, too sick to even type with any clairity. So get better, my friend and I will do the same.

  5. KjM says:

    “…So I’m sick, but it’s no big deal…”

    No, I suppose it isn’t. As you say, it happens to you from time to time. But still…

    I am sorry to read you are ill, happy that you have your mother as caregiver, and laughing at the stubbornness you show by posting when you’re too tired to type.

    Be good to yourself, and I wish you and your mother well.

    • Blackbirdsong says:

      Thank you Kevin. Yes, I am quite stubborn, but it’s not my fault. I was named after my grandfather’s mule. Yeah, he had a mule named, “Rachel.” I bet she was gorgeous. Anyway, thank you for the comment. I’m feeling a bit better today.

  6. Is that the same as glandular fever? I have had the same thing and it recurs over the years. Hope you are feeling better soon and I’m sure your mum likes the feeling she can now be looking after you a bit. I think it is true that in times when we are needed, we tend not to get sick, and then when there is a bit of a let up, we do get sick. That’s happened to me to.

    • Blackbirdsong says:

      Gabrielle, I have no idea why glandular fever is, but just the name alone doesn’t sound like fun. Yes, mom is very happy taking care of me. It feels nice too. Glad you’re safe and sound in Australia. I was worried about you and your family.

      • I just wikipedia’d it and glandula fever is the same thing 🙂 We’re fine, but no bread and milk in the shops – they are flying supplies in to the next town of Bundaberg, so shouldn’t be too long. I’m so glad we don’t live in Brisbane anymore – our old house had water to the roof (it was in a very low lying area of town).

        • Blackbirdsong says:

          Good to know, but perhaps I’ll just call it Aussie Fever, since you have it too. I’m glad you don’t live there either. Dang that’s scary.

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