Riding the Wave ... And the Trough

I am mentally ill, diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I, OCD, ADHD, PTSD and a vitamin B12 deficiency (a key element in brain development). For over 12 years, I took anywhere from 5-8 psychotropic meds each day, and have been recently giving myself a monthly injection of B12.

In January 2012 I was hospitalized for depression, and management of my currrent med cocktail. Immediately all but two of my meds were discontinued and, after a few weeks of adjustment, and some near hospitalizations, things seem to be going much better.

I have been on permanent disability since January 2010, and am adjusting to life on a very limited income.

My prayer is that in walking with me during the ups and downs of Bipolar Disorder, you might find solace, and benefit through my experiences.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Caretaker's Caretaker

Ever since my wife was released from the hospital last April 15th, I have been her sole caretaker. It is interesting how, after they determine they have done all they can, they just send you home. Sure, we had books and copies of instructions, but they don't begin to explain or describe the processes a person goes through when recovering from a massive stroke

It's kind of like when you come home with your first child. You suddenly come to the realization that "you are it". If you don't do for your son or daughter, it's not going to get done. I had read everything I could find on strokes and recovery, and I came to a startling realization; there are practically no books on the shelves of the major book dealers. Stroke is the number 3 cause of deaths in America, and there are very few books on the subject.

One possible reason is that the problems resulting from a stroke vary greatly from person to person. For instance, the doctor told me that she has never seen a person have a stroke of the kind that Connie had and live. Yet, to date, she speaks clearly, her thought process is the same as before and she actually discovered that she can solve logic puzzles that baffled her before.

Her main problem is her left side. Although she has gained some feeling back, most of the time she has no feeling at all. She can walk and use her left arm and hand well, but this is after months of very hard physical therapy. Along with this is the discouragement she feels by the slow changes that are taking place.

Now for the "sticky wicket". I need a caregiver from time to time. With my diagnosis of BP I, ADHD and BPD, there are times that I need someone looking out for me. I am not mentioning this because I think it's not fair; there will come a time when it's not practical. What happens when we both need someone to watch us? Who will take care of the caretaker's caretaker?

Fortunately, Connie's mental faculties are intact, because my short-term memory is nearly nonexistant. I can't remember from one minute to the next. She's usually understanding, but there are times when the results of the stroke cause a significant personality change, and those times can be challenging.

She wants to get better so she can care for me when I need it. I'd like that also.
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