Woman looking defeated in her kitchen surrounded by Dishes piled up in the sink, toast burning, trash to take out, and various item laying all over the house.

When Life Gets in the Way of Self Care

I am fortunate to be married to the most self-sufficient husband ever. That was true even while he was going through a kidney stone attack. All he really wanted was just to be left alone. Selfish me, I was only too happy to comply.

That all changed with his decision to have a complete knee replacement. After surgery, I had to continually be  available. He couldn’t get into or out of bed without assistance. He had to use a walker to get around the house. That meant he couldn’t carry his cup of coffee or take his plate to the table. I also had to help him get dressed and his shoes on.

I am not complaining about caring for him at all. He is a great husband, and I am glad to help do what he can’t do. I just didn’t realize how the role of caregiver would impact my own health.

No time for me

Having chronic dry eyes requires a commitment of time and adherence to a daily schedule. My schedule went right out the window after my husband’s surgery.

I usually start my day off by thoroughly cleaning my lashes with special eye wipes recommended by my optometrist and putting in eyedrops. After his surgery, I began my day getting him settled in a chair with his leg propped up. I forgot about cleaning my lashes and using eyedrops as I busied myself making his coffee and rearranging pillows every time he got up.

Next on my treatment regimen is using my Bruder eye mask. In the past, I used the mask as soon as I finished my morning coffee. Busy with my caregiving activities, I forgot all about the mask.

As the day progressed, I forgot to reapply eyedrops at noon. It did not take long before my treatment regimen was totally skewed.

Dry eye flareup

Not surprisingly, by day 3 of my caregiving role I soon experienced a flareup of symptoms. The first sign was waking in the middle of the night with extremely dry eyes. Reapplying gel drops at 1 in the morning isn’t conducive to a good nights sleep.

A new routine

I've read the first rule of caregiving is self care. I knew if I didn’t take care of myself, I might not be able to care for my husband.

My new routine is to take care of my eyes first thing when I get up. My husband has no problem waiting for his morning coffee. Before making breakfast, I use my Bruder eye mask for 10 minutes. After breakfast, I settle my husband with his leg up. Then I can focus on my own physical activity routine before reminding my husband of his physical therapy exercises. After making lunch, I make sure to reapply eye drops.

Getting back to normal

As of my writing this, it marks a week since my husband’s surgery. He is finding ways to do more things for himself. This experience has reinforced the importance of sticking to my dry eye treatment plan. After focusing more on self care, my dry eye symptoms are subsiding.

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