What do carers do when they’re ill?
Ill? Don’t make me laugh. Carers can’t be ill, there isn’t time.
For me, the stress of double-working every hour there is (yes, folks, work. I can’t sit around in a saintly fashion, smoothing brows and mooing “I caaare“, I have to earn a living, you know. Carers don’t live on air) – this stress kickstarted a couple of medical nasties of my own.
“How long have you had these symptoms?” the consultant asked me, when he finally diagnosed inflammatory bowel disease.
“Oh, about ten years,” I reply.
“No, I mean, how long have you had these acute symptoms?”
“Oh, about ten years.”
“Why on earth didn’t you do something about it?”
I feel foolish. Its impossible to explain to a non-Carer how invisible a Carer is, even to themselves. The state doesn’t recognise your job, neither do the Unions. To healthcare givers you are generally the nuisance who challenges their pronouncements. For me, ten years of pain was merely a background to the horrors of Ms Fitty’s adolescence, when she spent several years at death’s door – and I at the doors of A&E. I put pain was put aside for a more convenient time.
Another grim aspect of our grim lives.
But I digress
Many other carers around the country are minimising their own health problems. How ironic, when they are brought on by relentless hours and lack of any support. Use us up and spit us out – and then wonder where the funds are to pay for the £187,000 yearly cost to replace all that we’ve done freely and with love, why dontcha?
O, and think of this, next time you fancy a sick-pay-funded duvet day because ‘modern life is so stressful!’ (sorry, that was BILE speaking)
So today I am feeling truly terrible. I’ve a slowly subsiding Crohns flare, and my innards hurt. The disease is being blasted with heavy duty steroids, and these have ensured I have slept no more than 3 hours a night for the last 3 weeks. The extreme lack of sleep is interfering with my temporal lobe epilepsy (another consequence of relentless, unsupported caring) and I see flashing lights every time I move my head.
In short I feel shite.
Ms F is on her last ever day of college (see Groundhog Day. They wanted her to leave on the spot, last week, like a bad dog – but she held out for coming in today. She pointed out that everyone was bringing in cakes today, and she didn’t want to miss out. Fairly typical that in their haste to get rid of her they had not thought of her as a person at all who would like to finish a term like anyone else) . I might have some hours without interruption, just to lie and be ill. Ones where every silence doesn’t suggest suffocation, every crash the possibility of broken tooth or bone, and where every conversation isn’t tempered by the confusion of a thousand hidden absences.
But – these are my last free hours for a while and I have so much to do. I lose a full 12 hours of tomorrow because Ms F and I have to travel to the National Hospital, and Thursday is looking like a day from hell onthe work front. If I work now, I save myself more trouble later. Unless I make myself so ill, that I cause myself more trouble later.
And I’m pretty certain I can’t trust myself on a bicycle.
Between the devil and the deep blue sea once again..