Caregiver Loneliness

Caregiver Loneliness

Pedro has come a long way since this day...and so have I.

Pedro has come a long way since this day…and so have I.

ICU minutes stretch like bubblegum—at some point, I know they’ll burst and slap more messiness into my life. I wait, lonely in the busiest place on the planet, for the nurses to allow me back into Pedro’s room. The tubes cascade out of his mouth, bringing life and hope that I won’t have to face the future alone.

***

 Hospital minutes twang with anxiety—Pedro’s not in ICU any more, but nurses rush in on quiet feet each time I press the call button. Days have passed since he knew that I sit next to him, counting each breath and movement—hoping that this crisis will pass. The beeps of his vitals accompany my prayers. The loneliness presses in—squeezing hope into the corners.

 ***

Sometimes, caregiver confusion and loneliness looks like this--other times, there's no sunrise in sight.

Sometimes, caregiver confusion and loneliness looks like this–other times, there’s no sunrise in sight.

I am on a highway, looking towards a bright future, yet time whizzes past me in a blur. I tend to Pedro’s needs during my lunch break, than hurry back to work. The four of us (Pedro, Laura, Sarah and I) relish his recovery, and long for time to regain its measured pace. Normalcy dances within reach, yet I feel lonelier than when minutes stretched like bubblegum. The bills, the burdens, the new normal, all build an invisible wall between me and everyone else. No one understands the sheer panic a sneeze or a sniffle produces in my mind. No one understands the confusion of no longer living in panic mode.

I blindly hang on to the one constant from my journey. I know I have never been alone. Never been forsaken. But MY road to recovery is a lonely one. (tweet this)

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Do you know a caregiver?  Have you wondered if he or she might might suffer from caregiver loneliness?  What can YOU do to help?

Five Minute Friday

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

Please note: We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I don’t know your story but I do know what it is like to be in a hospital room alone. Day after day. Week after week. Month after month. My son was in a coma for four and a half months. I was surrounded by friends and family and nurses who were messengers of God’s love but I had never felt so alone. But that loneliness created a door for God to come in and show me who He really was and my life has never been the same. I am sure He has done the same for you. Today I will pray for you. You will not be alone today.

    • Anita Ojeda

      Thank you for your prayers, Cheri! It’s nice to ‘meet’ someone who knows the loneliness of being in a hospital. God always works through us if we let him–I’m so glad that he’s working through you.

  • Mia

    Dear Anita
    I am so glad you are better now and your husband as well. I recall a time when my husband broke his neck in a car accident and both my children suffered serious illnesses during that time as well. I also suffered bad depression when they were all well again.
    Much love XX
    Mia

    • Anita Ojeda

      I hope that your husband has recovered, Mia! What a difficult that must have been. It’s crazy how we can seem so strong during a crisis, but fail to see depression lurking in the shadows and ready to smack us down. It’s nice to know that we are not alone, isn’t it? Thank you for sharing with us.

  • It is always good to be reminded that even surrounded by people, you can still feel lonely. I could easily see how that would happen in a hospital. Thank you for the encouragement to reach out to those who are care-giving.
    Laura recently posted….pleasant words.My Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by! Hospitals are crazy places filled with lonely people.

  • Out of the darkness into the light…this is what went through my mind as I read your post. You have come a long way, and now can share with others. I have enjoyed reading your journey and know that mine, though not the same, is one I travel alone; but not alone. I know that He is with me; and I also know that my family and friends are with me, though not in the same was as I am.

    I have spent time in the hospital; and it IS a lonely time, for both the patient and the family. I pray my husband doesn’t have to do so; I don’t know how he’d handle not being able to get up and walk and go places on his own.

    Blessings and prayers to you and your hubby and your family! Thanks for sharing your journey!
    Barbara recently posted…Fab-ruary 18thMy Profile

    • Amen–we might be alone, but we are never alone. I’m so glad you have supportive family and friends–they sure can make a difference!

  • I so understand your feelings! I remember those feelings so well…sitting with my Mom in the ICU. Your words today captured so well how I was feeling in the midst of it all. Thanks my friend!
    Tara recently posted…Waiting in FaithMy Profile

    • It’s comforting to know that others have traveled the same road, isn’t it?

  • Wow, I can’t imagine how it feels for you to read this from your perspective and revisit those places! Such raw heart felt emotions. What a wonderful God we serve that he brought such beauty and clarity in the midst of all of this.
    Messy Mom recently posted…Ice Cube Treasure HuntMy Profile

    • Amen! I hope that by telling my story, some other hurting caregiver will realize that he or she is NOT alone.

  • Wow. Your vulnerability in this post is just so compelling, Anita. Thank you for sharing this side of your care-taking journey with us.
    Colleen Mitchell recently posted…Morning Run: Simple AnswersMy Profile

    • It was a pretty rough time–but it’s amazing how once I discovered that I wasn’t the only lonely recovering caregiver, it made the journey so much easier!