Your loved one might have contracted a terminal illness a decade or more before anyone realized that he or she was sick. Asbestos exposure on a North Carolina job site, in a home or elsewhere often results in mesothelioma or asbestosis, two diseases for which there are no cures. Symptoms of illness may not be apparent for years after the initial exposure. Caring for a loved one who is experiencing symptoms or late-stage illness can be emotionally, financially and physically challenging.
It is difficult to come to terms with the idea that there is nothing you or anyone can do to cure your loved one. The central focus in such cases is typically to provide tender loving care and palliative treatments designed to keep the patient as comfortable as possible. As a caregiver, there are several things to keep in mind to help you cope and to provide the best care possible for your family member.
Be prepared when your loved one stops eating or drinking
Since nourishment is always at the top of the list when caring for someone who is ill, it can be especially traumatic to watch your loved one’s appetite dwindle away. It’s not uncommon, however, for a patient with a late-stage case of mesothelioma or other asbestos-related illness to stop eating at some point.
Hopefully, if you understand ahead of time that this is a common occurrence with your loved one’s type of illness, it may be less stressful for you emotionally when it happens.
Mesothelioma patients may become agitated, restless and delirious
When your loved one’s illness first showed symptoms, he or she may still have been able to function independently on a daily basis. As the disease progresses, he or she may become weaker. In its late stages, an illness like mesothelioma may cause your loved one to have a lot of pain or to feel restless and agitated. He or she may become incoherent.
It is helpful to build a strong support network from the start so that you can discuss these issues with licensed professionals and others who can help you provide the best care possible for your family member.
Extraneous issues associated with asbestos injury
As time goes on, you may be the one to administer pain medication to your loved one, to help cleanse him or her with a wet cloth and other acts of care. Such situations can be particularly upsetting, especially if you’re also dealing with legal problems related to your family member’s illness. For instance, if his or her employer knew there was an asbestos risk in the workplace but was negligent in his or her duty to keep workers safe.
In addition to speaking with people in a community support group who have tended to terminally ill loved ones, to a counselor or even to a trusted friend or relative, you can tap into local resources for legal support, as well. Having someone to help you navigate a specific issue can make the overall situation a lot less stressful.