Can I Be A Caregiver?
There is something that I have learned from many years of having been a co-caregiver for my mother. You can do more than you think you can. Your desire to help the person that you care for will determine much of your ability to take care of them.
How I knew I was fit to give care
I remember when I was a teenager, my grandmother sliced off part of her thumb. Mom and I quickly went to her house to help her. As I watched my mom carefully try to clean it before placing the bandage, I could feel the nausea coming. I wanted to see what she was doing, but I really needed to step away.
Now fast forward more years than I care to admit. Mom had a hard time with skin tears. It was just a few years ago that she had a horrible skin tear in the middle of the night, at my house. My dad called for me to help, and when I saw it, I was amazed at how calm she was with that much skin peeled away. She let me know that she would not be going to the emergency room, and asked me to help. I had taken note of the way that a nurse had bandaged her before, so I just took a deep breath and got to it. It was not easy. I cannot describe how hard it was, knowing that what I was doing to help her was also causing her pain, but we knew that it had to be done.
What traits do caregivers have?
This was something that I never would have thought that I could do. I never had a desire to be a nurse or doctor, but when mom was diagnosed with COPD, I was thrown into a role that is similar, caregiver. Caregivers are the emotional support, medicine dispenser, bandage wrapper, steady hand and patient advocate. We are lifters of the physical body and moods. We are always on, even when we are away from our patient because we are constantly thinking about them.
Unless you were a pulmonary doctor or nurse before becoming a caregiver for someone with COPD, you will never feel fully capable in every situation. However, your love for the person that you care for will give you the strength and the desire to learn what you need to know and to do the best that you can.
I should say that there are some people that physically cannot handle taking care of someone, and in those cases, there will need to be someone else that can help out. In most cases however, you can do more than you think.
Learning about yourself in the process
You will learn more about yourself and your patient than you ever thought possible. You will have new limits to what you are willing to do. One day you will look back and say, “I did not think that I could do that.” Regardless of your ability to do a task, if your heart is in the right place, your patient will know it. When all is said and done, your love will have said it all.
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