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How to Take Care of a Parent When You Have Chronic Illness

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I wake up in the morning, with overwhelming nauseous and I haven’t even gotten out of bed yet courtesy of gastroparesis.

Next comes the joint, muscle and nerve pain once I get the energy to start getting up thanks to my fibromyalgia.

OK, so I muster up what strength I have at the time and try and pull myself together. Here comes my anxiety making a guest appearance suddenly. Oh joy!

I fight the urge to just stay in bed and hide from the ailments just mentioned above. I have to fight it. I have no choice. I have to help my mother begin fighting her battles of the day with Parkinson’s. Everyone knows about the good days and the bad that come with Parkinson’s. It’s time to focus and take care of her in any way I can.

Some days are just simply better than others. Some days I feel like I have a handle on both my multiple diseases and hers and some days I feel completely helpless and defeated.

Having a multitude of major issues alone topped with a parent with Parkinson’s is at times feels nearly impossible. How do I get myself “normal enough” to be of any real use to the woman who has devoted her life, heart, time and world to me. How does one successfully do both?

I’ve come to terms with the fact that it doesn’t come automatic. I wish it did. Life wouldn’t be so hard then. But it doesn’t, so adjustments need to be made. You can’t properly care for someone when you’re rendered completely useless by your own host of diseases.

I do as much as I can as often I am physically able to. Sometimes it’s a daunting challenge. Sometimes I wish I could just take away all the things that are going wrong and replace them with the way things used to be. In reality I know that’s not the way this works.

I do the best I can for the day, and I try not to feel so disappointed with what I couldn’t do for my mother because my illnesses take hold and don’t let go. It becomes a battle in my brain. I get angry. I get upset. I get completely down on myself. But I’ve quickly learned that just when you think you can’t possibly do what’s been dealt to you, you find this strength deep down inside and do your best to deal with both. It’s definitely not a walk in the park, but you have it in you to do the best you can and that can be what keeps you going.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Originally published: August 17, 2021
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