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Time for a Little Self-Care

I got a massage the other night. Great! I’m one of those people who will leap at the opportunity to have a massage. For me, it’s all about the relaxation. I’m on that massage table and floating off on a cloud to nirvana even before the masseuse utters the words “light or medium pressure?”

My massage the other night did not disappoint. But it was different, because for the first time, my motivation for being there was therapeutic.

I had been experiencing some unsettling discomfort in my left thumb that seemed to be migrating to my other fingers, hand, wrist, occasionally the elbow. You get the idea. Nothing life threatening, but a pain nonetheless.

My friends and family call me Dr. J because as soon as they share any symptom of theirs with me, I immediately jump on the internet, do the research, and report back to them in short order with a “diagnosis” and a list of “next steps.” Now it was my turn.

My two suspects were: (1) lifting weights or (2) lifting my wheelchair-bound mom. (I guess the same thing, if you really think about it!). Anyway, my massage mission was to identify the source of the pain in anticipation of taking action.

Fortunately, I had a very gifted masseuse, and she soon identified the source of the pain as my left thumb. Her nonmedical opinion? Overuse. It is now left to me to decide whether the overuse is from exercise or lifting. I guess I will figure that out over the next couple of weeks.

My point is that it brings to mind the physical toll that caregiving can have on the person who does the caregiving, including…higher death rates!!! No joke! – statistically proven.

I have always viewed my mom lifts as part of my workout (It’s all about the core, it’s all about the core.). But now I have a dilemma. The mom workout is key to her mobility, the gym workout is key to the mom workout, the mom and gym workouts are key (or so I thought) to my good health. But not according to my left thumb, fingers, hand, wrist, and elbow.

So, how about you? Taking care of a loved one? I’m sure you’ve read and heard it a zillion times, but now you’ve heard it from Dr. J: While you’re busy caregiving, don’t forget to take care of … you!

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