Five chapatis. That is how many pieces of indian bread, chapatis, Mother Teresa's doctor said she and her Missionaries of Charity had to eat as a minimum each day for optimum health. Totally immersed in her vows of poverty and service to the dying and sick, Mother Teresa had to be told she had to eat in order to be there for the people she loved to serve.
Tequila upstairs. A friend has a marriage with a big age gap. When health issues arose, this friend was cast into the caregiver role for six months until the health issues sorted out. Every night, curled up on the loveseat next to the patient at home after living so much in the hospital while the loved one was an inpatient that showers at home were every two days on a quick trip from the hospital. 'You can't get anything done--the minute you start doing something the patient calls with something for you to do. It would drive me nuts. I would have to go upstairs and take a shot of tequila every now and then just to relax.' Fortunately, this patient got better...
Although by all intentions we hope as caregivers to emulate Mother Teresa, in the trenches, the approach of the friend with the tequila is the way it plays out for most of us. You do what is expected of you at the burning out of your own self.
Reiki is an incredible way to heal others without depleting yourself. I do self-Reiki every day. But when my loved one was in the hospital, and still is, as a family we took shifts at being in the hospital. As a physician, I was totally unprepared physically, mentally, and psychologically to take on these nursing assistant shifts with my loved one in the hospital. Every time this patient could think of something to do, I jumped. For days on end...Up to the chair. Back to bed. Up to the bathroom. Back to the chair. Open this package for me. Cut my food. Small talk because they were afraid of the silence--and silence can be most healing!
In a thought--nurses get forty-five minute breaks for lunch for a reason. Caregivers do not get any breaks at all.
On the drive home, in shock that a patient would refuse a treatment to get them better because of fear, I had to breathe. Breathe in what you need, breathe out what you don't need. Breathe in what you need (Light), Breathe out what you don't need (Fear). I have been learning in Obstetrics that it is the Lack of Education and Understanding of Medical Basics is what makes for a needy, hard-to-please mother-to-be that screams when the i.v. is inserted and jumps around when the epidural is supposed to go in. Lack of education. Lack of Medical Insight. It will rear its head in an ugly need to establish control, especially when the patient is in denial about what is a reasonable expectation for their inpatient experience.
As my friend said, 'When you are told to go home with a tube, as a lay person, it is extremely terrifying. But when you come home, and the home nurse comes two of three times a week to visit, you are able to cope. Then you get the hang of it. I had to do things to my partner I never thought I would have to do (basic nursing functions)! When you have to do it, you just do.'
I ask, 'What about basic self-care for the caregiver on an energy perspective?' Here I am, all plugged in to Healing and Meditation, finding myself at the end of my rope--starving for energy, peace, calm, Light, and Love after being with a member of the family who is sucking me dry.
First I went to my doctor--who gave me strict orders--'no more than one hour a day'. Medically, the loved one got worse. I had to go back to twelve to twenty-four hour shifts in the sickroom to keep the family peace.
Second, I reached deep:
- I asked Archangel Michael to cut the etheric cords between this family member and me. I was being bled dry of my energy.
- I asked St. Germain to help me blow the Violet Flame onto the situation. The Violet Flame is a breathing technique that is very cleansing and healing at the same time, energetically.
- I did a jigsaw puzzle. That is very grounding and renewing for me. I enjoy it.
- I continue daily self-Reiki
- I ate home-cooked foods and fresh fruits and vegetables that are organic to replenish myself after all that cafeteria food at the hospital. (althought 'healthy', there is not much Life Force in the food)
I don't know how today is going to go. I must go back to the hospital again. It is my turn, and things are not changing clinically. I acknowledge that I just spent my first winter break vacation in decades working harder in a hospital, with longer hours, and fewer breaks, than I do when I work anesthesia full-time! Without compensation, and at a loss of about fifty dollars a day to the cafeteria, too. This patient was there for me all my life, and never questioned helping me in my need. It is my time to pay this life debt back...
If you are a caregiver, the most important guide I have for you is this: Love yourself! Love yourself completely and nourish your soul in whatever way you can. You are in survival mode. You cannot make mistakes. You are perfect. When the going gets rough, reach into your back pocket and pull out this gem that gets me through the toughest situations: I am burning off some Karma! Let's do this thing! Let's burn off some Karma!!! If you are stuck, you are stuck, but you might as well make the best of it.
Love and Light for you who put your own needs aside in the help of others. I feel with you this ache.