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Role Reversal - Carers UK Forum

Role Reversal

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
'There but for the grace of God', Audrey

Putting myself in hubby's shoes puts things into perspective for me.
I only have to think about how I would wish to be cared for and then it all becomes a little easier. He is such a good man and so pleasant.
I have to think about it, because I may yet be affected by the muscular dystrophy which has afflicted my father/caree and also my older half-brother, although as I get older and have seen no signs of it yet, it is hopeful that I have escaped. I do not have any children or anyone else close who might care for me, as I am caring for him, so I hope I have - I do have some relatively minor health problems now, so they are enough to be dealing with alongside caring which is getting heavier by the day.
Audrey....a very thought provoking post. As Daylily says, "there but for the grace of god". Mum passed away 3 years ago today at the age of just 71 but her health had been deteriorating probably since she was my age, 54. How she coped with the ever increasing pain, the gradual loss of all mobility and not even taking into consideration the increased dependence of oxygen and medication , simply shows that she had a strength that came from deep within.

People have said in the past that I have my mums strength but I really don't think I would have been able to cope with so much for so long. RIP mum.

Bell x
Hello Missus Audrey.

Thought provoking indeed but a question I cannot answer because I cannot begin to comprehend, or maybe it is just too painful to comprehand what my carees go/have gone through.

My "mum" (my grandmother). Raised me from the age of 4 months, worked two jobs, worked so hard at home and had so many health problems. I spent most of my young life in and out of hospital almost constantly with severe asthma which stopped my heart two times. She coped with all this without any complaint and coped with the death of my own mother at the age of 29. Her health problems have been too numerous to count but she has never given into pessimism. She lost my "dad" (grandfather) in 2001 to cancer and my "brother" (uncle) totally unexpectedly in 2005..she has buried both her children but has been my rock through all my hard times, especially with my other caree, my daughter.
I could not imagine the pain of losing my child/children. I could not imagine getting up day after day and carrying on, especially in old age when health is so precarious. I could not imagine going through major heart surgery the day after I buried my son and doing it because I had to stay alive for my "daughter" (me) as she had so much to contend with. I could not imagine such a downturn in health that renders her incapable of doing the things she enjoyed. Of the Carpal tunnel that stops her from knitting, of the macular degeration that stop her from seeing the TV and is robbing her of her sight, of the mobility problems that rob her of the dignity that she had until so recently.
Of the heart failure that will finally take her life within the next 6 months which she knows for sure because she asked..she wanted to know. "I have to make sure my house is in order"
I could not imagine going through all that..it is beyond my comprehension.

My caree/daughter. I could not imagine what it is like to live with ravenous insatiable hunger every minute of my life, to feel starving but to be told that I cannot eat what I want, when I want it. I cannot imagine what is it like to be desperately lonely, to want to have friends, relationships, marriage, sex and babies and not to understand why this doesn't happen for me.
I cannot imagine what it is like to be so angry, so sad, so tormented that I will smash my own precious things to smithereens nor could I imagine hating my family so much, not knowing why and smashing their stuff to smithereens too.

A long waffle Missus Audrey for which I kind of apologise but not a massive amount. Image Because I hope that in among my waffle you can see my answers. I can have empathy and admiration for both my carees but I cannot think too hard and too long about role reversal because it would hurt too much and I would become bitter. I can think about it but I cannot..must not brood about it because if I did, it would make me think that life is just not worth living.
I have to be positive (hate that word but you know what i mean) for them. For young caree to know that life is not always a bitch and that she can do and achieve so much.
For mum, who is now tired and is ready to "pop her clogs"..I follow her lead. I don't reverse my role because it is my turn to do what I can to make sure her remaining months are happy ones. My "role" is now to be mum. Without wishing to sound too soppy (cos you know I'm not! Image ) for the woman who gave up so much for me without a second thought..it's an honour.
Turning this on its head.... how would those we care for have managed if they were the one doing the caring? Always 2 sides to a coin.

Great topic Audrey

x x x
Very thought provoking indeed....
My thoughts immediately turn to my Dad who was told he had incurable lung Cancer and had only months to live - I might also add that the B****rd Doctor told him this when Dad was on his own, without consulting family first.
I have often wondered how Dad coped with the knowing, his frail body slowly refusing to work, having to rely on me so much. But would it have been right to keep it from him? I'm not sure how I would cope at all.

Then to my lovely Hubs, last night, just for me, he made a big effort to go out. Granted he didn't stay out long but he did it.
He hates all aspects (obviously) of his illnesses but still tries to put a smile on his face, I'm not so sure I would always be able to put up with it, I would probably be the worst, grumpiest caree ever.

Rosemary, I have no doubt that my Hubs would do exactly the same for me if roles were reversed, and I think he would cope quite well, as long as he could put up with me Image
x
We are all different and none of us know what our reactions will be to anything until it happens. Image Image Image
I couldn't imagine being in my mums role atm. I think she'd care for me just fine like she has but to be her would be horrific I think. She hears voices etc and that would drive me insane not to mention the muscle twitches and anxiety Image

Hi by the way every1 Image

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Very thought provoking indeed.

I've had health problems since the age of ten and am only now getting tests done and seeing specialists about it this year. None of my problems seemed anywhere near as bad as my wifes and I never let it stop me from becoming her carer and looking after her to the very best of my ability. Despite the outcome of the tests (doctor highly suspects fibro myalgia and/or M.E ironically the same as my wifes) I will always care for her as much as I can. Neither of us had children before we got together (and even if we did they would still be very young) our parents and family live quite far away and none of our friends live close so it is just the two of us. Basically if I didn't look after the both of us no one would else would be able to. When Lisa was diagnosed with Barretts Esophagus and her diet had to change dramatically, I changed mine too to match hers so that she didn't have to see me eating the foods she desperately missed. She felt guilty but I don't really miss it except maybe the odd take away.

The ironic thing is before we married I asked her if my health declined and she were able would she have looked after me as I do for her, bluntly she replied that if she had been fit and able we probably never would have gotten together as I wouldn't have kept up with her previous lifestyle. Harsh but honest, it makes me laugh thinking back to that moment. In a twist of fate on days where I struggle to move, lift things or co-ordinate my body at all Lisa does look after me. Yes it isn't a grand gesture it's the small things like making me a cup of tea that really warms my heart, I know how much pain she's in and yet she can still do that for me. The strength and determination shown to me everyday by Lisa humbles me beyond words, she's made me a better person not just as my partner but also on days where I feel terrible I follow her lead, I don't complain but hold my head up, grab onto everything good happening in our lives and get on with it.

Bit of a ramble but the gist of it is in there somewhere!
I couldn't imagine being in my mums role atm. I think she'd care for me just fine like she has but to be her would be horrific I think. She hears voices etc and that would drive me insane not to mention the muscle twitches and anxiety Image

Hi by the way every1 Image

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Hi JJE, welcome to the forum! If you get the chance (or time!) perhaps you could pop in to the New Members section to introduce yourself? I'm sure others would like to pass by to welcome you too!

Bell x