The only thing certain about life, is that it never remains the same. If you like today, enjoy it. If you aren't crazy about today, hang on. No matter what you do, even standing still in the bed of a river, will result in ever changing waters teeming with debris, tiny squiggly creatures and moving silt. Watch your balance!
Some changes are cultivated, nurtured and met with great joy. An exciting career, a new home, marriage, the birth of a child, we meet with grand aplomb.
Other changes are felt through fear, anxiety, disappointment, anger and frustration as doors once open wide, waver and shut tight.
Having been a caregiver, for most of my life, I have a unique ability to adapt and keep the teeter totter of providing aid as easy as....Sunday morning. Well, maybe not quite that easy, but doable, and even pleasant. I am not talking about taking a lemon and making sugar syrup, adding water, ice and a fancy little umbrella, calling it lemonade.
Well, maybe I am, especially when it's shared. No one is able to sail through life without at least being given the opportunity to help other people under challenging circumstances.
The very first gift you receive when you enter a new phase in the journey of growing up is, something to make the way easier. Be it funds for the journey, a textbook, or some helpful device, it makes the process less daunting. Whew, that keeps the monsters of fear and doubt out from under the bed and a smile when you open your peepers, any day.
A thorough exploration of the mechanics of the task at hand, both good and not so good, to downright what to avoid makes the difference between success, and going back to the drawing board. Where the well being of a person is concerned, the goal of navigating change is like getting on a merry-go-round, balancing the movement and still hoping for a brass ring. Yay, another ride please?
What do you never see on TV?
A chef who specializes in feeding those with dietary restriction, difficulty in swallowing, and chewing. Trust me, you want to know that before you set down that cup or plate. It may look easy, but it's not.
A real estate mogul who specializes in the art of wheelchair access. Have you ever even seen a decorator who knows not only how to hide the normal clutter, but can add a hospital bed, lift chair, walker, wheelchair, miles of plastic tubing, or even simple wedge pillows?
A medical program that walks you through being the family, friend or able bodied volunteer of another person. I call that, being 'It'....and maybe you didn't even raise your hand. How many people, just turn their head and walk away, leaving THAT to anyone else? No guilt here, what you don't know, really does, cause a lot of dispassionate responses.
Who wants to take care of the ill, disabled, and needy, when there is any other choice? Answer, I do, you do, we all do, because it is part of living well, loving fully and prospering.
First and foremost is safety. Before you or anyone has to board the boat, you need a life preserver and not being alone in making decisions, doesn't make you weak, or cause embarrassment, it makes you smart. If time isn't on your side and necessity makes you jump both feet forward without a breath, get help. Usually, people try to work things out themselves and find out it is a swim in cold water with sharks. Eye opening and a fight to survive. I really recommend that you start off with more help than you think you need and then, taper off as skill and proper equipment becomes comfortable.
Most people don't do that. They jump in, try to swim, weaken and suffer until they drown or something unfortunate occurs. Gentle reader, the whole picture is much prettier than that. Yes, really. The added presence of a person who has a wealth of experience, a voice, a smile, just plain breathing air in the same room is really wonderful. The rare and unique privilege of bringing comfort to someone who needs it, brings strength and joy in unexpected ways.
There are of course exceptions, and sometimes, no amount of help, accommodation or elbow grease will be adequate. A brick wall is not a door to possibility when integrating many extreme physical or mental changes. This too, is best discussed with someone who has actually been there and done that, more than once, if possible.
What you will gain by that is not only permission to fail if need be, but perhaps the way to succeed beyond what you believe is possible.
An educated walk through the movements you plan to execute allows you to write a plan of care. It not only lets you see the flaws, it gives you wiggle room. A written plan of care lets an alternate caregiver walk in and do what you do, without a lot of trouble. If you, or the person you are caring for is unexpectedly ill, the power fails, or the creek rises, everyone knows what to do and how to do it.
Been there. Done that. Raising my hand, willing, and that says volumes about life, and love and surviving the Titanic....more than once.
I would like to hear your experiences.
I would like to read your insights.
Who knows what comes next?