Before I got sick, I was always the person who took care of everyone around me… I functioned on zero sleep, worked 90 hours a week, & was a single mom to four active kids. I hosted parties, playdates, & sleepovers. I’d get up, go to the gym, then spend thirty minutes getting myself dolled up, put in a full day at work, & sit at the sidelines of a softball game in stilettos. I was the picture of a supermom, I could handle anything that life threw at me & I did. Then I got sick…
I was “lucky” in the sense that I met the love of my life just before I got sick. This meant that I had someone to fall apart on, but it has also put a tremendous strain on him. He jokes that I got sick so that he could keep up with me — doing his best each & every day. We also talk about how we wish the situation were reversed, as I’m more capable of running on empty, juggling all the “stuff” than he is. I try to be all Zen about it & whatnot, saying things like “being sick makes me reflect on my life, that I needed to slow down & smell the roses.” The reality is: when I say this I’m just trying to make myself feel better about being sick, about what I cannot do, & about the total lack of control I have over anything in my life.
The are so many articles out there about caregivers: from tips for them, to articles about how grateful we are, support for caregivers, etc… There truly is a special place in heaven for those who care for a sick spouse. Not only do they do the work no one else is able to do, but they do what no one else would be willing to do. It comes with a great personal sacrifice, not only of themselves, but they also lose the partner that they knew. It’s no wonder that so many marriages break under the weight of illness. Which is why, in a perfect world, your spouse would not be your caregiver.
Which leads me to my point: The Caregiver Fantasy.
If you’re sick like me & completely dependent on help from others to function on the most basic level, you’ve probably fantasized about what the “perfect caregiver” would look like. Most women my age are fantasizing about Bradley Cooper types, but I just want someone who I can feel comfortable with, who will take care of me, who is NOT my husband. I’m a big believer in the idea that your thoughts manifest things, so spend a lot of time visualizing the life I want. I spend hours fantasizing about what that would look like, how I would get it, how I would find them. I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way it would even be feasible is if I win the lottery. So lets say I have a hundred grand a year to throw at the problem, how do you find someone you’re comfortable with that you can count on? Like I said, it’s my Caregiver Fantasy.