24 October 2011

Do you care? I do.

More than a week since the last post. Thanks to those who asked how I was doing. Nice to know some people are holding their breath waiting for news from me. My advice would be not to hold your breath. It might kill you :)

I guess the reason for the lack of posts is because life is a bit boring and tedious at the moment. I cry every day, am going to college and started training for my new job today. I am going to work as a home carer and I look forward to starting. It is a bit of an adjustment, not having worked for more than a year.

Last week in the local paper, just after having been offered the job as a regular home carer, I noticed that the same team that cared for Jane in her last 8 weeks are looking for new carers to join ther End of Life services. I would really like to join the team because I know what an incredible difference it made to me and Jane, having such great support. But it has only been 4 months & 3 weeks since Jane died. Is that too soon to work in palliative care? I think I will only know for sure once I am on the job.

But that is not good enough. Because I think that if it turns out that I am not ready and I break down, remembering all we went through, it might be a major setback in my grieving process. End of life care is special. It is extremely rewarding but also emotionally draining. You are not just dealing with the patient but also with their, often very anxious, family. I can do the actual work and caring. I think I can provide the caring without gettng upset. Because the person I care for is not Jane. But I fear I might struggle to deal with the upset family members. I worry that it might remind me too much of my own fears and feelings. I fear that if I cry, it won't be out of compassion for them, but my own grieving coming back to me. I am not explaining it very well but to me, there is a very big difference.

So after careful consideration, I have decided that this might simply be coming too early for me. If I can not feel sure about my ability to do the job right and to keep my emotions in check on the job, then I should not do it. Secondly, I don't want to put myself through the emotional pain of applying, only to be told by the applications team that their experience tells them I should not be doing the job. Nothing worse than other people telling you what you really already know deep down but are trying to ignore. I will go and be a regular home carer first and see how that goes.

On a different note, I have been to a few open days for university and I most definitely want to go to Plymouth University. Great open day, nice people, good facilities and beautiful nature on the doorstep. Now I just need to finish my application and send it off.

Finally, I have decisions to make about what to do for Christmas. Needless to say, I would prefer to hibernate for the entire month of December, thus skipping what would have been Jane's 28th birthday, Christmas and related festivities, and wake up on the other side on new year's eve. I will write more about that in a few days.


  1. Obviously, you're living it, I'm not, so feel free to take these thoughts with a grain of salt!

    Quotes are cheesy, yes, but I've read some good ones in the last six months. Henry Ford: "Whether you believe you can or believe you can't, you're probably right." Anonymous: "If you can't get out of it, get into it."

    Perhaps you can see where I am heading?

    There's no harm in calling them up, explaining the situation (they meant a lot to you, you are keen to give back, you know you can do the work but you're not sure if it is too soon to work in palliative care) and asking their views.

  2. Of course you are right, as you often are. I should just call them and ask.

    The problem is that they won't be able to answer the question for me because everybody's grief is different. In some ways, I am apparently quite 'advanced' in how I am dealing with things. But perhaps in other ways I am not.

    The only way to find out if I could cope is by doing it. But a client's house is not the right place to realise I am not able to do it.

    I think that the fact that I am asking the question is proof that I kind of already know the answer. It seems to me that I am hoping that if I just want it enough, I will be able to cope. 

    This afternoon at training, I had to use a hoist and sling and I had visions of Jane in the hoist. I had to compose myself and swallow the lump in my throat. Realistically speaking, I guess that I should take that as a sign that I am not yet ready to do it with terminally ill people. I think I will be fine in general care. 

    But in the End of Life team, I would be working alongside the exact same people who cared for Jane. In the same team. And they will ask me how I'm doing. They will remind me of the most painful time in my life. Because I know they were there. And that had not occurred to me until now.

    See, another function of this blog: talking stuff through out loud instead of just in my head. Because now it seems perfectly clear to me...

    Yes, I really really wish I was ready for it. But that does not compensate for the pain I still feel when I think of Jane being so helpless and me feeling so lost when I was caring for her. And I know that when your loved one is dying, the last thing you need is someone who is supposed to take some of the worries off your hands but who instead burdens you with their own problems.

  3. Btw, how are you doing? I tried to ask by leavin a comment on your blog but the option to leave a comment seems to have vanished...

  4. As I said, a grain of salt. Or lots of salt.

    When I try to imagine it for myself, doing the day-to-day caring that you did for so long might be harder than the palliative caring over the last weeks and days. But of course, I can't speak from experience.

    I have finally blogged again. Just now. It does help to write things 'out loud' as you say, rather than just think them. I'll try to blog more often again. But yes, I'm doing really well.

  5. Where are you? I thought I must just have missed your posts on my rss reader but now I see it's been a month. I'm going to look for you on facebook.