The book “Who Says Men Don’t Care” recounted “the boiling frog syndrome” as an example of how many of us handle the stress of caregiving. A frog, a cold-blooded animal, gradually adjusts to the temperature surrounding it. If placed in a pan of cool water on a stove burner, the frog will not jump out, even as the water gradually heats to the boiling point. Men can be like the frog. Thirty-two years ago I was the caregiver for my wife following her serious car accident. I committed to caring for her fulltime, running our family business, and managing our household with four school-age children.
I was the frog in the pan. After a year, unlike the frog, I jumped. But it took me several years to recover and many more to overcome the guilt of leaving. Based on my experience, I suggest the caregiver, man or woman, realize one of the greatest gifts you can give your loved one is to take care of yourself. Accept that your emotional, psychological and physical energy is limited. You need to replenish your internal resources, if you are going to survive. Don’t become another boiled frog.
Acceptance is an awesome force. Accepting reality is the first step. You also can learn to cope in delving into the mind, life and acceptance of life and death that is the heart of Coy Cross’s experience related for all to learn from in “The Dhance.”
Available from KohoPono Press, ISBN 978-0-9845424-2-0, visit kohopono.com or call 503-723-7392.