Life is a tightrope for Caregivers!
Taking great care of our loved ones is so much more than just showing up each day. Great care means we have to use our hearts, minds and intuition when making decisions which are critical to the well being of those in our care. We’re taking responsibility for another persons life and the attention we give that responsibility is a testament to our own character. When all is said and done, will you be able to honestly say to yourself, “I think I did a good job because I did what I thought was right at the time”?
If it helps, there really is no “right”. There’s only the best decision that could be made with the information and circumstances you had at a given time. Isn’t that true for all of life?
Whoso would be a man must be a non conformist.
He who would gather immortals palms must not be hindered
by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness.
Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.
Ralph Waldo Emerson,
Perhaps you look back and second guess yourself often. We all do when we’re in the throws of playing Doctor, Lawyer, Merchant, Chief and, also, for years after when we’ve had time to reflect. But it’s our tendency to look outside ourselves for approval that keeps the second guessing rolling in our minds. We hope for the approval of family, friends, doctors, society and our loved ones. There’s a lot of pleasing to do. They’re going to have “opinions”.
It’s natural to be easy to get along with when things are going well. It’s often hard but necessary to be a non conformist when a situation warrants. Especially if your loved one is suffering. Its really okay if you’re not liked by everyone. Even by doctors or administrators. We’ve been beaten into submission by society to think that we have to take a no when we need a yes. If you do your best to put your point across as nicely as possible, if doggedly, I’m sure you’ll get respect eventually even if you’re an inconvenience at the time. If not, who cares? You’ll have done your best.
My husband passed away in March seven years ago. I’m remembering the very irritated look on his doctor’s face when I showed up at his office without an appointment, my husband in his transfer chair in tow. I was getting no where over the phone and I needed help now. My husband was blind, deaf, suffering from congestive heart failure and had extreme anxiety. The anxiety and the various medications all his doctors had him on manifested into a frightening schizophrenic behavior that showed up each evening at sundown. If you’re not familiar with Sundowning Syndrome you can read a previous blog post here (click the following links to read Sundowning Part I, Sundowning Part II). His visions of men in trench coats with machine guns pointed at us were now showing up in the day time. This unwelcome office visit got the ball rolling and it took a couple of weeks to get insurance approvals, but we finally received the care needed. The doctor is a fine man, he was just too busy to really get involved in each individual case. It wasn’t personal, there was just no other way I could get what we needed without pushing as hard as I did. Upon my husband’s passing, he was the only doctor who called with condolences.
As a people pleaser most of my life, I credit my years of Caregiving with the lessons necessary to toughen me up. All my life I had been proud of the fact that I could get along with most anyone. As a child I was praised for being a pleasure in the classroom in school and at home for being easy to raise, I’m the oldest of four girls. We generally live up to what we’re praised for. But life has a way of rolling over us if we don’t find a balance.
I want to encourage all Caregivers to be who they are and expect to be respected for it. Those around you who matter will recognize your truth. And those in your care will be best cared for. Keep pursuing what you need to have the best life for yourself and those you love.
I wish you love and the courage of a non conformist.
As always, please email me with questions or comments at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll get back to you promptly.