I never thought I’d take for granted the caregiving I receive from my daughter, at least not on purpose. But that’s exactly what I was doing. I knew I could count on her on the days I needed someone to drive me to my appointments, for instance, because when my daughter moved back home to help me with my pulmonary fibrosis, she became part of our driving force unit. She took on a whole new responsibility. She became a caregiver.
A caregiver is someone who helps those who may not be able to take care of themselves in their daily activities. My illness has taken some of those daily activities away from me. There are days when I must literally crawl out of bed to start my day. Cooking can feel like I have been standing on my feet all day. Showering is challenging because I must make sure that I drag my oxygen concentrator with me. Leaving the house can also be difficult, with having to pack several pieces of equipment just to get through half a day with oxygen.
Good days are hard to come by, especially when I plunge into one of my lung flare-ups, which make my lungs feel heavy and painful. Humbly, my daughter has helped in so many ways to make daily living much easier for me.
Now, the tables have turned. I’m the caregiver since my daughter fractured her left foot.
Because of her Jones fracture, my daughter isn’t able to walk on her foot for the next six weeks. Therefore, I’ve taken on more chores and activities than I’ve done for the past three years. My body has pains in places I never knew existed, and my energy is dwindling to zero. I am persistent though. I’m one to keep carrying onward. I don’t mind being a temporary caregiver; I just wish that I could give it 100%.
I want to show my daughter how much I appreciate everything she’s done for me. As a parent, you don’t want to be a burden to your children, so I try hard to do everything I can to help while my daughter is recuperating. I especially don’t want her to feel like a burden.
In some ways, I kind of like taking care of her. It allows me to feel like a normal, healthy parent again, not this person with a rare and chronic disease.
It’s hard to manage a rare disease, especially one that worsens over time. Managing my disease has become a job of its own, but as time goes on, I realize that I need help. I am grateful that my daughter has returned home. What is most admirable is that she made this decision of her own accord. So for me to become her temporary caregiver is an honor. It gives me the chance to gain some independence that I haven’t acquired in quite some time. It gives me the courage to feel worthy and capable.
While I’m taking care of my daughter, I’ll still need to be mindful of how much my body and health can take. I make sure that while she is resting, I rest, too. My husband is helping with all the chores around the house, which gives me comfort knowing that I have an extra set of hands. I also make sure to get enough sleep so that I’m ready for the next day. It’s a bit of an adjustment, but as a family, we’ve all come together to lend a hand.
I hope for those of us who are fortunate to have a caregiver, we are mindful of the hard work, selflessness, and care that they provide for us. I find it an honor to have my daughter share her life and kindness with me.
But for the next six weeks, I’ll again become the mother taking care of her child. For now, all’s right in the world.
Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.