Two For One

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Mrs. Dale Hall, Hawaii

My journey of caregiving has been filled with so many ups and downs as many caregivers have gone through...It first started with my husband; in the beginning it was wonderful and happy times until he got sick mentally. Throughout our 30-something years, he's battled bipolar disorder, and I have gone along his battle each and every day. It affected our finances, our relationships, and at times respect. I had a hard time to get ahead in work, a better paying position, because that meant I couldnt take off work to help my husband. Hes been in the ward multiple times, and attempted suicide three times. I made him retire early. I became the breadwinner. The one thing that kept me going was my children and my God.

As time went on, hes gotten a bit better but not healed. He still has anxiety and depression, but is taking medication for life. My parents were getting old at this time, and my mom passed.

We then took care of my dad, who was alone, and continue to till now.... he is 97 years old. I work full-time in a job that pays little, and am a caregiver to both my husband and my dad. I cook for him, clean, wash, take him on errands on a weekend day, take him to the doctors, make any arrangements like medical supplies and miscellaneous calls, etc. My dad has been in and out of emergency and has fallen a lot; he broke one rib and fractured his lower spine. Hes been in and out of hospitals, and nursing care home and assisted living. I take care of any arrangements for him.

I don't have much time for myself nor to my husband, but I try to squeeze in quality time for ourselves when I can. I take time to go to church, and to pray. Stress is a daily thing, and I need something to relieve the stress and anxiety. I take walks daily, lunchtime, try to eat right, spend quality time with my grandkids and a friend, and treat myself at Starbucks. It makes a whole lot of difference...