Fear of Failing As An Advocate.

Fear of Failing As An Advocate

If you are anything like me, as a caregiver, one of my deepest fears was failing to be my mom’s voice when she could not speak for herself.  There was a time in my life that I was incredibly shy.  At that time, I would not speak up for any reason.  I would still consider myself an introvert, so anytime I make my voice heard, it is something that I feel passionately about.

Sometimes knowing when to speak up is difficult.  Being an advocate for your loved one is never easy, especially if keeping a high level of civility is important to you.  For example, there was an incident a few years ago when a nursing intern took off mom’s oxygen before helping her to the bedside commode.  She gave it back to her, but never plugged it back into the wall socket.  At the same time she began pulling on her IV to get her to come closer.  I stepped up and as politely as possible told her that she would no longer be assisting in mom’s room and that I would take it from there.  The biggest mistake that I made in this situation was that I did not take this incident immediately to her pulmonary doctor.   A few weeks after she was released from the hospital, we were telling her about the incident, and we were rightfully chastised for not calling her office immediately.  If your doctor knows about a problem when it happens, it can be dealt with.  If it happened weeks before, there is pretty much nothing that can be done.  The intern really needed that incident to be a learning moment to keep something like that from happening again.

From that point on, I was not afraid to step between my mom and a situation that I knew was not good.  Her veins were so small and would roll anytime a needle came close.  After so many years of this happening and very few technicians listening, we began limiting the sticks to two or three times.  If the vein was not accessed in three tries, I would ask for someone else.  There was one time that stands out in my memory.  A technician entered the room, and we could tell just by the person’s attitude that it would not go well.  We were able to respectfully ask that someone else be sent in to try before he was able to really get started.

You will find more courage to stand up for your loved one as time goes on.  However, please understand me when I say that this is not your chance to take all of your frustrations out on the medical staff.  You must remain level headed.  This is for your love one’s sake.  There is already an enormous amount of stress and anxiety just in being in the hospital.  If you are always overreacting or acting out, you are creating extra stress for your loved one.  Treat everyone with respect, even when you are taking care of a situation.

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