Dr. Judy Stone’s story in this NYT article is just like mine. I became overwhelmed during the 5 years I cared for my mother (diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2007). I underestimated my ability to provide professional nursing care for her while simultaneously caring for my own family and myself. My standards of care for the entire medical community have always been high — plus I’m a huge patient advocate. So when our (broken) medical system kept failing her at crucial moments I began to feel powerless, and eventually succumbed to a terrible case of caregiver burnout.
Healthcare providers need to be extra mindful when we take on the role of being caregivers for our own loved ones to ensure we have adequate supports in place for ourselves. That old adage “ignorance is bliss” would have come in handy many times during those 0300 nights she and I sat alone together in the ER.