Triggers for caregivers

Posted by Scott, Volunteer Mentor @IndianaScott, May 29, 2019

Hi to all caregivers here! This past week I really got to thinking about all us caregivers here as I had a set of unusual triggers hit me, as the kids say these days ‘right in the feels’. I’m wondering if other caregivers, present and past, get effected by triggers as I do?

First was when our daughter was admitted to the hospital for a serious illness. Other than for visiting in a hospital I hadn’t been in the ‘working areas’ since I had been caring for my wife. As I drove the hour from our home to the hospital to be with our daughter I was overcome with not only my worry for her, but by a crush of emotions as I was overwhelmed by memories of the times I had to be in this crisis mode with my wife. When I arrived I got hit with another trigger as our daughter was in the same hospital where my wife got her first diagnosis of her brain cancer. Walking through those same front doors, I actually had to sit and cry in the lobby before I went back into the ER. In short order she was transferred to the ICU. I had not been in an ICU since my wife spent days in the NICU at Mayo. The noises, IVs, rush of nursing, regular monitoring, the feelings of fear, etc. triggered wave upon wave of emotion and memories.

Thankfully our daughter’s condition did improve and she was able to return home and is well on the mend. Then the next kind of crazy trigger hit.

Before getting ill our daughter had arranged to adopt a rescue Lab. She couldn’t go to pick up her dog so I made the trek and agreed to keep her for the week until she could join us. Her name is Stella and I was slammed again. Shaking, ribs sticking out, sores on her body, and then the intermediary said to me ‘you better be a good caregiver, she need’s a lot of TLC.’ Just him using that word sent me into a spin again.

Stella is improving and a truly sweet dog, then another wave. This is the time of year I have a lot of trigger events in quick succession. This was the time of year my wife suffered incredibly in her final days. It’s also when we celebrate and remember her birthday, our anniversary, and then the day of her passing. I know my emotions are far more raw and release easier in life. Heck, I even cried watching EndGame with our grandsons! But this time of year, when I am hit with trigger, upon trigger, upon trigger, I am a bigger emotional mess than usual.

I’d appreciate hearing how you, as caregivers, deal with your triggers?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Caregivers group.

Regarding the phone and its effect on those who shared , thanks for talking about this. I used to love talking on the phone but now I find I don't have patience for long conversations unless I am feeling unstressed and sociable. I use all my emotional energy at my caregiver home health jobs and then a son who has health issues and a disabled husband . I just don't have any thing left to give of myself and I don't do small talk . And then I now associate calls with bad news as well.

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@georgette12

Regarding the phone and its effect on those who shared , thanks for talking about this. I used to love talking on the phone but now I find I don't have patience for long conversations unless I am feeling unstressed and sociable. I use all my emotional energy at my caregiver home health jobs and then a son who has health issues and a disabled husband . I just don't have any thing left to give of myself and I don't do small talk . And then I now associate calls with bad news as well.

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I so agree! I now have ALL home calls sent to cell voicemail. I screen ALL cell calls. I accept live calls only from our son, or from those who we are waiting to hear back from. I asked friends and family to text me, rather than call. I changed cell ring tone to harp….

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@georgette12

Regarding the phone and its effect on those who shared , thanks for talking about this. I used to love talking on the phone but now I find I don't have patience for long conversations unless I am feeling unstressed and sociable. I use all my emotional energy at my caregiver home health jobs and then a son who has health issues and a disabled husband . I just don't have any thing left to give of myself and I don't do small talk . And then I now associate calls with bad news as well.

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SO true, @georgette12 It is amazing how, when you are stressed, the phone can be such an unwelcome intrusion and perceived as a negative indicator! I find I really, and I mean really, need to be in the mood to chat on the phone — and don't get me started on the number of robo-calls I get now on my cell phone! It is crazy!

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@vickys

I so agree! I now have ALL home calls sent to cell voicemail. I screen ALL cell calls. I accept live calls only from our son, or from those who we are waiting to hear back from. I asked friends and family to text me, rather than call. I changed cell ring tone to harp….

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I love the harp ring tone idea @vickys Thanks! What a nice idea! I basically keep my phone on vibrate all the time, but have two ring tones for our adult children. Our son lives near Disney in Florida so I have 'When you wish upon a star' for his family and our daughter lives in Chicago so I use 'My kind of town'. Now if you don't mind me copying you, I think I'll change my default ring to something soothing like you harp idea!

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@georgette12

Regarding the phone and its effect on those who shared , thanks for talking about this. I used to love talking on the phone but now I find I don't have patience for long conversations unless I am feeling unstressed and sociable. I use all my emotional energy at my caregiver home health jobs and then a son who has health issues and a disabled husband . I just don't have any thing left to give of myself and I don't do small talk . And then I now associate calls with bad news as well.

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Me too. I never answer phone. Except for 2 people and I see their names before I answer.

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@IndianaScott

I love the harp ring tone idea @vickys Thanks! What a nice idea! I basically keep my phone on vibrate all the time, but have two ring tones for our adult children. Our son lives near Disney in Florida so I have 'When you wish upon a star' for his family and our daughter lives in Chicago so I use 'My kind of town'. Now if you don't mind me copying you, I think I'll change my default ring to something soothing like you harp idea!

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It really makes all the difference. And I have other people comment on it whenever they hear it. While I still let most calls roll to voice mail, it is never grating now when the phone rings! Copy away!

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@IndianaScott

I love the harp ring tone idea @vickys Thanks! What a nice idea! I basically keep my phone on vibrate all the time, but have two ring tones for our adult children. Our son lives near Disney in Florida so I have 'When you wish upon a star' for his family and our daughter lives in Chicago so I use 'My kind of town'. Now if you don't mind me copying you, I think I'll change my default ring to something soothing like you harp idea!

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@IndianaScott The ringtone on my phone sounds like an Argentine Tango. But I don't always answer…I figure the cell phone is for my convenience!
Ginger

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@Scott,Volunteer Mentor and @ginger, Volunteer Mentor, Glorious Tuesday morning to you and all the friends here on this Mayo Clinic gathering spot!

When I mentioned my trigger of the telephone ringing, I had no idea how it would resonate with so many. On so many levels! And I picked up some great ideas, such as making different people have their own individual song or sound. I already knew that existed. But it didn't "stick" before. I will enlist my Grandsons help with that task as he is my "IT" person.

And clearing my voicemail, responding to telephone calls by persons who take the time to leave a voice mail, well, that really just fits the bill. That, I can do. In the past I did not set boundaries of the length of time that I would spend with individuals on the phone. That was an issue with my significant other. And rightly so. I just couldn't get off the phone with some folks. All of these posts have inspired me to give it another try.

You guys are amazing! I hope that each one of you scrolling through these posts has an extra helping of joy and peace today. Keep letting that little light shine!

Strength and light,

Mamacita Jane

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@gingerw

@IndianaScott The ringtone on my phone sounds like an Argentine Tango. But I don't always answer…I figure the cell phone is for my convenience!
Ginger

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@Gingergingerw , Volunteer Mentor, I can totally see you with an Argentine Tango ring tone. Lol. Awesome, girlfriend!

Love and light,
Mamacita Jane

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Oh gosh I am so relieved to know how you guys feel about the phone. Especially about it being a trigger for bad news. Thank you. Regarding unwanted calls…on my Samsung android phone, I click contacts, then I click "recent calls ". Then if it's an unknown caller I don't want to hear from, I click on the number. That brings up a call and message and a DETAILS icon. Click "details ". Then click the words "block calls". That will stop the phone from RINGING when that number calls. However, it won't prevent that call number from appearing under "recent calls" if they call again. You just wouldn't hear or see it.

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