Monday, January 28, 2013

Is It Enough? Am I Doing Enough?

Every so often I get these feelings as though I am not doing enough to help Sean. As though I lack some of what he needs to better cope. It is frustrating for me because I strive to do everything I can, but then I don't see the results I was expecting or hoping for. I begin to question myself and my abilities.

I go into a downward spiral.

My doubts take care and I begin to think I am failing at everything, not just in Sean's care.

It's why my house is never clean enough, because every time I get ahead somewhere other things set me back and then it becomes so overwhelming that I don't want to be bothered with it cause I'm tired of cleaning. So, I cry and rant about how I am a sucky house keeper and I don't get how everyone else out there always seems to have clean houses and I can't! Why can't I get out of this crappy cleaning funk? I go on and on till I am too exhausted to even think or cry anymore about it and then the ideas come to me. ideas of how I can handle it and get it done. How I can make it easier on me and still be able to do what else I need to. Then the cycle starts again.

Just as one example of what I mean.

I'm a very emotional person, I always have been. I cry a great deal to express, well most everything. So, when I hit these downward spirals I tend to drain myself completely. People don't realize I do this all of the time either, because I don't exactly share it. I keep them to myself, aside from Sean being present for some.

That is my own hang up though.

The point I am trying to make is, I hate always questioning myself. I hate that I can't see if what I am doing is enough. Sean will tell me it is enough but I can't see if it is and that is what drives me crazy!

Anyone who reads this or knows my situation know about Sean's physical disabilities. He has degenerative disc disease thanks to three bulging discs in his lower back, one of which presses on a nerve. He also deals with aches and pains all over his upper torso (mostly in the shoulder and collarbone areas) as well as wrist and ankle troubles from when he was crushed in a Bradley Turret during his deployment in 2004. All of that along with the headaches and sharp pains from the shrapnel in the back of his head. So, he pretty much stays in pain all day long and night.

He has done physical therapy a few times and he said they never helped, they never made his pain better, just made him hurt more. He has taken a variety of different pain medications, his current being Oxycodone. Some months back they issued him an Alpha Stim to use on the pain. I think I meant to write up a post about it but never got around to it, try to remember that for the future. Anyway, it helps him for very short bursts, kind of like the medication. We also use those "bed buddy" things, that you warm up in the microwave and place on the area to help relieve some of the pain. He uses a cane a good bit of the time too. All of that only does so much.

He has asked me to request stronger pain meds from his doctor a few times, and I did. Of course they tell him they can't give him anything stronger until he tries other pain management like acupuncture and a chiropractor. He refuses to try the chiropractor because he doesn't trust it, and he is unsure about the acupuncture. He doesn't understand why the doctor can't give him something stronger in the meantime while he tries some of these other things. I honestly don't know how many more ways I can explain it to him.

I know he hurts and I know I don't truly know how that feels. I know he just doesn't want to be in pain anymore and I wish I could take his pain away. I just hate standing there watching his frustration and distress from hurting so much and not being able to do more for him. I know he has to want to do for himself and I try and encourage him as much as possible. It's just I can't make him feel comfortable enough to try other pain management he doesn't trust anymore than I can make his doctor give him what he wants.

So, we reach a stalemate in the discussion and that is when I begin to feel inadequate. I start thinking maybe if I was a more aggressive individual then the doctor would listen to me. I think that maybe if I were a better Caregiver I would be better about keeping his pain in check. Then my mind being what it is goes into overdrive and I think about all of the other things I "fail" at. House cleaning, keeping the children from getting loud so often, keeping the laundry where it belongs instead of left in baskets in the basement after it's washed...just some examples.

The thing is, there will be some things in my power and there will be some things that won't. I can't take Sean's pain away and I can't make the doctor give him what he wants. I can try and work things out to maybe help Sean find a path in pain management that will suit him. I can even work out ideas and techniques to try and improve on the other things where I feel I am lacking.

I'm not perfect and I have said this in past posts, I am only human. It isn't a matter of if I am doing enough, it really is a matter of that I still keep trying. As long as I continue to try and not give up things will work out in the long run. Some things quicker than others, but if I keep making an effort it won't always be inadequate.

I just need to learn to not let my doubts take hold and refocus on what I can do and how I can do it.

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