On Monday, May 2, I’m having surgery. I’ll be in the hospital for a few days, then home recuperating. It’ll be a total role reversal in my household. I’m usually the one doing the caregiving because of Michael’s all-too-frequent hospitalizations and surgeries for Crohn’s disease.
When I first told a friend that Michael would be the one taking care of me, she said, “Wow. You’re really throwing yourself into your caregiving book, going under the knife just to see what it’s like to be the patient for a change.”
The truth is, I’ve done a lot of research for my books over the years – from traveling to Sedona, AZ for “Crystal Clear” and taking a Caribbean cruise for “Princess Charming” to signing up to be a hospital volunteer for “Some Nerve” and traveling around the country with the Yankees for “Confessions of a She-Fan.”
But no, I’m not undergoing surgery just so I can interview Michael later about his experiences as a caregiver – although that’s exactly what I plan to do. Once I’m back on my feet, I’m going to pull out my digital recorder and ask him the questions I’ve been asking other caregivers for months.
- How do you cope with the stress of caring for a loved one?
- How do you get doctors to hang around long enough to answer your questions?
- How do you endear yourself to the nurses?
- How do you avoid freaking out during a loved one’s medical crisis?
- How do you eat right, get enough exercise, and sleep well – while you’re pulled in all directions?
- How do you find anything appetizing in a hospital cafeteria?
- How do you deal with the isolation of not being able to socialize with friends?
- How do you keep from going nuts?
Ironically, I’d always planned to have a chapter in the book called “When Caregiver Becomes Caregivee.” I just never imagined that art would imitate life – or is it the other way around?
I’ll write my next Mainly Jane post as soon as I’m feeling coherent enough.