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Defining "Fine"

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Monday, January 13, 2020

I recently went to a Caring for the Caregivers meeting. As I entered the room, I was asked;
“Hi Jackie, how are you?”
I answered; “I’m fine, how are you?”
My friend responded; “I’m fine, thank you.”
Truthfully, we are both weary and worn and that’s why we were at an 8:30 AM Caregivers Support meeting on a Sunday morning. We are grieving the slow decline of our mothers, and muddling through this tough time in our lives.
What does “fine” mean anyhow?

The dictionary defines FINE as
1. of high quality. "This was a fine piece of filmmaking"
2. (of a thread, filament, or person's hair) thin."I have always had fine and dry hair"

Perhaps the second definition fits. Maybe my patience and my nerves are fine just like thin hair.

As a caregiver, I need to listen to the people I care for. Many of them hide what is going on in their lives just as I do with the people around me. At the support group, I learned that I have to look and listen carefully if I want to truly know what is going on because it could be that my loved ones want me to believe that all is fine when it is not.

I’m going to find ways, to be honest about how I am doing. My honesty can help those around me do the same. Some of the other answers that I could give to the question “How are you?”
I’m not sure. Can I get back to you?
I’m staying out of trouble. This means that I’m doing okay, but not wonderful.
I’ve got a mixed bag right now. I’m happy that the weather is warm, but I’ve got enough responsibility and work for two people to take care of.
This is a really tough day. I could use some help. This is an answer that I have given on very few occasions.
Never blame others for a bad day. Show kindness even when you’re sure that the other person has “done you wrong.” We never know the whole story.
Also, keep your goals in view. I do this with the GOALFEATS CHALLENGE. Please join me!
By the way, How are you today?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thank you for this.
    42 days ago
    Good blog with a lot of things to think about.
    42 days ago
    I am a caregiver.. Caregivers are rarely fine..people who ask most of the time no we are not fine...It is a nice thing to ask..most people don't really want to know whether you are fine or not
    42 days ago
    Do be honest.
    43 days ago
  • VICKI27655
    So true. My husband passed away in November after suffering for many years with COPD. The last year or two was pretty hard some days but when people asked I usually said I’m fine. Being a caregiver is hard and so is being a widow...and when people ask how I am I now say “OK” good days and bad.
    43 days ago
  • no profile photo GRAMPIAN
    Full of good sense. emoticon
    43 days ago
  • MAREE1953
    The repairman at our gym always answers: "Livin' the dream" when asked how he is. But he seems to hate his job, displaying his annoyance when asked to fix a treadmill, etc. I just say "Good morning" now and leave it at that. Me, on the other hand, usually answer "wonderful" because I prefer to focus on my many blessings. Thanks for Your blog and giving us all food for thought.
    43 days ago
    I can relate to the trying times of a caregiver having grandparents and now parents in need of help. It is a long and hard journey for everyone involved. May you have plenty of strength and heart to make it. Hugs dear.
    44 days ago
  • _CYNDY55_
    emoticon My day has been good.
    44 days ago
    When someone asks how do I feel I always say "Okay" and leave it as that. I don't want to share the real feelings. To me when I do I feel lower than low. To me things are the way they are and I must make the best of it.
    44 days ago
    44 days ago
  • LIS193
    “I’m fine” seems to be a standard response.. most people don’t expect you to say you are nog ok even when your world is falling apart.
    45 days ago
    I'm fine. And I am a caregiver too so I totally understand. We just need to make sure we get plenty of rest when we can and let others help us when possible.
    45 days ago
    Right now I'm very worried about my 94 year old dad. He, too, is in the nursing home, and he accidently fell today. He was checked out at the hospital, and he seems to be OK. Thank you so much for asking!!!!! God bless you and your beautiful mom!!!!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    45 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/13/2020 11:21:05 PM
  • CAROLJ35
    What a great subject and you have addressed it very well. Thanks.

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    45 days ago
    emoticon I'M A BIT TIRED BUT GOOD
    45 days ago
  • JAMER123
    AS you probably know, I am is a similar boat. Mom isn't in a nursing home. She is in her own home with my DH and I doing much of the work for her. It's the fix and repair, the grocery shopping in which she has to go along and takes 2-3 hrs. It's her health care that she doesn't want to listen to me but I have my brother call and she goes in. This has happened this past week where she probably has had pneumonia. Caregivers don't do well at taking care of themselves.
    45 days ago
  • KAYDE53
    When I was a kid, my mom would take me to the doctor, and when he walked into the room he’d ask me “How are you? I was always shy, and taught to be polite, so I’d always reply “Fine”. He’d just smile, and start the examination. Finally, one time he asked,and after I replied, he said, “If you’re fine, what are you doing here?” He meant it as a joke, but I was so embarrassed that I never said “Fine” again. I would tell him what was wrong. Lol
    45 days ago
    You told the truth and it is correct. To people I don’t know very well, I do say fine but to my good friends I tell the truth. They understand what I am going through and how my life has changed over the last 4 years—between Ashley being so sick and then suddenly dying and now my health problems but still living alone with my dog. I helped take care of mama and then daddy until they passed and I know how hard care-giving is on you physically and mentally. emoticon
    45 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    45 days ago
    so true just because some one is now in a nursing home doesnt mean the caring and responsibilities stop, my mother needed her bills , us to find and wash certain clothes of hers and bring them, calls to repair man for fixing refridge, clean out food at her house and the list goes on and on as you know so happy you are going to the meetings and just to see that you are not alone Hugs
    45 days ago
  • GABY1948
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    45 days ago
    Really good blog, Jackie

    And it's ok to not be fine. Just share how you are feeling with someone, even if it's not so fine. It helps!.
    45 days ago
    I LOVE this blog. Thanks so much for sharing. I'm very sorry you're under so much stress. I helped my siblings care for my mother and it was the second most stressful period of my life. My heart goes out to you.

    I'm under a lot of stress right now and haven't been blogging because I thought I "should" only blog if I was having a positive "up" day, but your blog shows me how valuable sharing our "real" selves can be.

    Thank you again.
    45 days ago
    I always say fine or okay and never thought much of it
    45 days ago
    Today, I am doing OK. Not fine; not bad. Somewhere in between. There are difficult things, but they are not threatening my health, either physically or mentally.

    I thin DH's response would be something like, "I've had better days." He often said this in his Dad's last days and in the next couple months after his passing.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and bringing a little clarity to a reasonable answer to the trite everyday question.
    45 days ago
  • no profile photo INCH_BY_INCH
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    46 days ago
    Another great blog! Fine is such a strange word that I think we have changed its meaning over time.

    Another place we use it - how is this? We say "Fine". Which usually means in response it is okay. When in fact Fine is supposed to be special. ie. Fine jewelry and fine dining.

    Wishing you strength every day. You are amazing and thank you for your sharing your experiences in such an honest and thought provoking way!
    46 days ago
    An almost funny story...

    Many years ago, I saw this co-worker sitting outside in the smoke break area. I like "Sam, " he was funny and always had something interesting to talk about. I walked over and said the obligatory. "Hey Sam, how are you doing?" He looked up at me, and after a long pause, he burst into tears telling me his wife had left him. I wasn't ready for that and didn't know how to respond. Nevertheless, Sam taught me a lesson. Whenever I'm asked how I'm doing I do my best to give a reasonable response.
    How am I today? I'm on my way to the chiropractor to treat my ailing back. Otherwise, I’m doing okay. Have a great day.

    46 days ago
    My sister was responsible for watching over my mother in the assisted living facility and dealt with her slow daily decline. I was not close by but called almost everyday to give her someone to share the not fine spaces in her life.
    46 days ago
    I'm tired. Not enough sleep last night.
    46 days ago
    Thank you for this blog, especially providing some sample answers to that question.
    Some days I feel dishonest saying fine, especially when someone asks about my son who is battling cancer.
    46 days ago
    How am I? Optimistic and hopeful and joyful. I am like this almost every day no matter what because I have weathered many storms and will weather many more. I am driven by faith.
    46 days ago
    We are programmed to say "fine," even when we are not really. Sometimes you can tell the truth by looking at the person's face. Right now, my eyes feel tired, though I had adequate sleep/ I think I have a touch of a cold, so that would tell me by looking at my face and listening to my voice. I can be fine in many areas, but not so fine in others. I'm glad you attended the group meeting. It's so important for your health especially with the potential fragility of your diabetes!
    46 days ago
    Oh the # of times I'd been asked that question and just answered fine. IT really depended on who was asking. I, Caring for the Caregivers group in my area and I was ALWAYS upfront with my challenges, because I saw it as my opportunity to get some feedback about solutions or at the very least, understanding from those in my shoes. That lifted my heart and spirits.

    AS for family, I was honest w/DH, but gave up being honest w/my brother. He wanted minimal involvement. Aggravating, but it was what it was. Something HE'LL have to deal with @ some oint in time.

    Hang in there.

    46 days ago
    I enjoyed your blog. Very thought provoking
    46 days ago
    Thank you we automatically say we are fine. But then there is the other meaning of fine.
    46 days ago
    You have given me a lot to think about this morning and for that I am grateful and by the way I am doing well today.
    46 days ago
    People don't usually listen, they assume the automatic "I'm Fine and you" answer. One of my favorite games with myself is to answer "not fine and you" and see if anybody notices. Few do. Sparklers usually listen, maybe because we all struggle a little and are in general a more aware of our surrounding group. Love my Sparklers!
    46 days ago
    Thanks for this :)
    46 days ago
    "I'm fine" is totally words I struggle with as I do the question 'How are you'.

    On another note-care giving is so hard. emoticon
    46 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    46 days ago
    In a caregiver support group, I think the answer would be "getting by" rather than "fine". I'm doing the caregiver thing now, too. The world in general thinks we should be just fine until Mom actually dies, that group is the one place where everyone knows that every day is another level of grief.
    46 days ago
    One thing I learned while caring for my mother during her last year of life is to ask for help when needed and to accept an offer of help when offered. It makes all the difference. Blessings for you, your mom and your family!!
    46 days ago
    Thank you for sharing with us.
    46 days ago
    emoticon for sharing. I have been there emoticon
    46 days ago
    Being honest with where you are doesn’t mean others are blamed. When I answer honestly, I feel lighter
    46 days ago
    good morning I am tired and i want more time off with out people around me I want to be able to just rest but I do not know how
    46 days ago
    Much respect to you for being a caregiver. I can relate to your post. Have a good week!
    46 days ago
  • no profile photo CD24558803
    I often ask friends for the unabridged version, especially if the face tells a difference story.
    46 days ago
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