Substitute the word ‘Mummy,’ for ‘Dad.’ Husband. Wife. Partner. Boyfriend. Girlfriend. Sibling. Best Friend.
Substitute the word ‘Mummy’ for ‘Caregiver. Support Network.’
I’ve recently returned from a girls only Mumma/Daughter trip to Bali.
It was a wonderful time away to rest and recharge. The only blip on the radar – and it was a pretty BIG blip for a few days – was my Mum got really sick within 24 hours of our arrival.
We had to call a doctor to the villa to administer IV antibiotic treatment over the course of a couple of days.
Suddenly the roles were reversed. The caregiver became the person requiring the care.
Ergo the phrase: “Mummy is not allowed to get sick.”
Spouse, parents, siblings, best friends… everyone who really loves a person with chronic illness is affected, even if they never experience the illness itself.
It’s especially hard for anyone who steps into the role of chief supporter or caregiver.
The dependence of a loved one is no light responsibility to shoulder.
A series of events and consequences that happen one after the other.
How far will the dominoes topple?
Flashback to my honeymoon in 2010. Hubby got sick on the flight to Europe. I believe the term ‘critical case of man-flu’ was used. He went down like a sack of spuds.
We use a manual wheelchair when we travel. Hubby out of action equals Bree out of action.
Now this is quite a trivial example of the domino effect in action.
My family bend over backwards to ease the load and make life easier for me, but I am essentially self-sufficient. When life throws a curveball (e.g. illness) at my support crew, I am generally able to find a workable solution to whatever the flow-on effect is for me.
I might be temporarily inconvenienced, my activities might be restricted or limited, I might have to forgo doing something at that point in time, but my overall well-being is essentially un-compromised.
But for the people who are dependent on their caregivers for everything, the domino effect can be quite devastating.
Keep rolling out those ‘worrisome’ inducing adjectives to describe the emotions we all feel.
Bali, 2016. Even though she was incredibly ill, my Mum couldn’t stop worrying about me and the extra load she felt I was shouldering.
The conversation went a little something like this:
Mum: “I just feel so guilty. I’m meant to help make your life easier. Not only are you running around after me, which is causing you more pain, you can’t get out and enjoy your holiday. I’m a burden! Mummy is not allowed to get sick!”
Me: “You are not a burden. I feel bad because I can’t really do very much for you. If the roles were reversed you would be doing a lot more for me.”
Fast forward to the part where I announce that I will get a taxi to a local health food shop to pick up supplies for Mum. Someone had been watching a little too much “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders,” and the real-life holiday horror stories featured on “Banged Up Abroad.”
Mum: “I don’t like the idea of you getting in a taxi by yourself over here. You could be taken! You are more vulnerable than the average person because you have a visible disability. And you’re a woman.”
Me: “You’re a woman and you would take a taxi by yourself! I’ll whack them with my sticks!”
Mum: “Oh please, as if they would take me! Your father has been trying to get rid of me for years! They aren’t going to take an old lady.”
And so the emotional merry-go-round continues.
Does this sound familiar?
But the weight of expectation on their shoulders, whether that be self-imposed or other, means they often feel compelled, obliged, even burdened, to do it all. To be it all.
They don’t want to be the reason the dominoes fall down.
They want to maintain balance and equilibrium, even if that comes at great personal cost to themselves.
Mummy is human. Even superheroes fall down sometimes.
Now it’s your turn! What are some of the safeguards and contingency plans you have in place to prevent or contain the domino effect? Comment below!
Like this post? Then share it!
Photo Credit: Pixabay
All photos and content the property of Starbrite Warrior and Bree Hogan. Not to be reproduced without permission.