On the Topic of Caregiving
Okay so we're sitting here and P is reading names out of the paper. I thought he was reading the obituaries but no. Marathon results. For some reason, our names weren't included! Shocking I tell you. Have we not just been in a marathon of medicine?
Anyway, yeah. Time to talk about caregiving.
A: First thing caregivers need to know: You're the most important person in the equation. What do you think? Like when there's a diagnosis of cancer in your partner.
I kinda also want to say that nobody else can completely understand the situation, because the caregiver has the most unique perspective on everything. What do you think?
P: BE FLEXIBLE.
A: What do you mean exactly?
P: Situations can quickly change. Whether it's an appointment, an uninvited visitor, Murphy's Law...
A: Is there anything good about being a caregiver?
P: Life experiences. And knowing what you can expect in the future. Like if something happens to you.
A; I thought you were going to say chocolate milk.
A: I noticed that you always pack a bag for yourself.
A: I noticed that you come to all these appointments prepared. You have something to read. Pen and paper. Maybe some snacks. You're not afraid to go get yourself some chocolate milk. I think it's good advice. Practice extreme self care.
P: Oh. I got it.
A: Another thing I learned from you-they call this a take-away-isn't that nauseating? Is, that a lotta times I got on your last nerve because I was medicated.
I need to remember this when I'm dealing with certain people who are ill. They are not always in their right mind.
Where did you learn that?
P: Body chemistry and medication equals Get ready for ANYTHING.
A; Where did you learn that?
P: Experience. Watching, waiting, dealing with multiple situations.
A: You have a strong stomach. That laundry was gross.
P: If that's the biggest problem, you're lucky.
The biggest priority is the patient. If you can't handle the laundry, you're in the wrong job. Not everyone can be a mercenary.
A: I could be a mercenary. What is that exactly?
P : No. You don't qualify. Period.
A: (Cracks up.) What about that day when you stopped for the free chair massage at the cancer center and the therapist solicited your business-like when I was 'getting a treatment' (I think she meant chemotherapy.), you should book yourself a massage. I thought that was kinda sleazy. Like a sales pitch. Not that I would ever stop you from getting a massage. But I thought that was weird.
P: Your medical treatments are also like a sales pitch.
(Here we get WAY off the topic.)
A: Another mistake I think I made. People offered to assist and I declined because I don't want people watching me throw up (or whatever) but in a perfect world, maybe I should have asked you what you might have needed. You did all the work.
P: Say "Thank you for your offer, I'll keep you in mind." Then confer with your caregiver.
A: Speaking of 'thank you'. How could I ever thank you?
P: Remember me in your will.
A: (Waits for better answer.)
P: Okay, do unto to others as you would have them do unto you. You want more coffee?