Monday, January 27, 2014

Meltdown Moment: From Wife to Caregiver?

That moment when you realized that you went from being your husband's wife to "caregiver!!!!!!

My husband had returned from an appointment and shared that the doctor made a suggestion that I apply for the VA Caregiver Program.  To be quite honest I felt offended! For goodness sake I'm his wife of seven years and now I am going to be reduced to a mere "caregiver"!! Really?  I don't think so!

The word itself gave me the "heebie jeebees"!  I don't want to be known as his caregiver and nevertheless feel like the hired help!  Can you feel me on this?

Once I settled long enough to hear what this program is about, I was able to exhale.  My husband reassured me that it would not change who I am and how he sees me as his wife as I was assuming.  Therefore he put my silly notions to rest.

Whew! Thank God!  I was about to have a meltdown. Wait a minute, I did! Although, outwardly it appeared that I had it together  but inwardly was another story. It looked something like the picture below!  Not a pretty sight at all, huh?

After much thought I had to laugh at myself. A caregiver is one who attends to the needs of a person! Well I've been doing that for the seven years we've been married!  Moreover since his return home about two years ago.  The program was suggested because his condition has worsened and will be facing a few surgeries that will leave him immobile for a few months.  Therefore, I will have to take upon a greater responsibility in his daily physical care as well as his mental state. For those whose spouse is diagnosed with PTSD, you know what I am referring to.

As I shared in my previous post, my husband has night terrors that abruptly awakens him to a state of frenzy and keeps him up most of the night. I get up to soothe him and bring him back to reality. This is not a once in a while occurrence but a nightly one although he takes medications to minimize the nightmares.  It's not an easy task as I feel the exhaustion settle in during the day but I love my husband and will continue to care for him regardless if I receive cash benefits or not.  But I will say that the extra income will come in handy because finances can be an added stress factor when your monthly retirement and social security benefits barely cover your expenses and you are declared unemployable.  I unfortunately am not able to work because I need to drive him to his appointments, especially those that are far and they are many.  And I honestly don't think I would have the strength to wake up or the mind to focus!  So in essence, I am grateful that this program was made available for us to apply.

If you want more information or would like to see if you are eligible for the program click here.  Answer a series of questions and if you qualify, a link for the application will be provided.  Print and fill it out per the instructions.  Once they receive the application, they will call you with further actions you must take.  There is a process so be patient.

I am in the process of taking the caregiver online classes.  Once I have completed, the last step would be the home visit. Then a determination would be made as to the monthly amount - as it varies to the extent of each individual care needs.   This does not alter your spouse's benefits.  More information can be found on the website.

To think that I went berserk over the thought of being something that I already was. I almost missed out on the blessing that evidently God made available through this avenue.  Only He knows our struggles!  Father, thank you for yanking me out of my meltdown and allow me to see things in another perspective!  Yessssssssssssssss

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