Close Friend and Assistant Caregiver’s Perspective
I gave my childhood friend a version of the questions that my husband answered as a caregiver, because she is basically my assistant caregiver. This comes up if my husband is working out of town or if he is stuck at work, then she is the one I lean on for various types of support. She will go to doctor appointments, cook, or help me with the fur kids. The perspective that she offered is much more like my husband’s perspective and less like my family members.
Questions and responses from a caregiver:
What is the hardest part about watching a close friend deal with chronic migraine?
The hardest part is not being able to take the pain away. I'd do anything to not have her in pain.
Do you think chronic migraine has changed the individual?
Yes, pain changes a person no matter what. It's made her stronger but because she is used to pushing through the pain, some people don't believe her until she lands herself in the hospital.
How does it affect your relationship with one another?
I think we are closer than most friends. We understand when each other is feeling too bad and we need to rest or change our dinner out to movies on the couch. We have also taken to an afternoon in with drinks and cheese dip instead of a girl’s nights out on the town.
Do you think it has affected the dynamic of your relationship (as friends)?
I believe it has affected the dynamic of our relationship but not in a bad way. We are closer than average friends. I go with her to doctor appointments and know what is needed to help her.
Do you think it has affected the dynamic of their relationship with other family members?
Yes, because she pushes through for work. Her family sometimes underestimates her pain and feels like she should suck it up and deal with family issues or events, which is not fair to her.
Do you think it has affected the dynamic of their relationship with their spouse?
He has always known her with the migraines, so it was a testament to me how much he truly cares about her. He blocked out the windows in their house so she wasn't confined to her bed during a migraine. It is all the little things like that which make a huge difference in their lives. Not all spouses are as supportive.
Is there anything you wish you could make them understand or tell them?
I want her to remember that no matter what I'm here for her and that whatever she may need I will do my best to make it happen.
Since you take such an active role in helping with their care (doctor appointments etc when needed) how do you feel about being an “assistant caregiver”? Is there ever any resentment to being needed in that aspect?
Absolutely not! I picked her as my best friend years ago. I will always love her and take care of her to the best of my ability.
Do you have a message or thoughts for other others (both friends & migraineur)?
For somebody with chronic migraine: it is important to find someone to talk to and to remember you are not alone or crazy for that matter. For friends or family members: trust your friend/family member when they say they are in pain and don't try to minimize what they are feeling. Do not try to guilt them into doing something because they already feel guilty without your help. Don't simply stop inviting them to do things because while they might have to cancel it still means the world to them to not feel forgotten.
Do you have an assistant caregiver or a good friend that you know you can count on to be there when you need them?
Can you tell when a migraine attack is coming?