Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Caregiving: "the call"
There are phone calls I can never forget.
“(One) score and seven years ago …” a phone call changed my dreams and life.
That is another story. This entry is about “the call” from (one) score and three years ago that kicked open the door of caregiving.
Sitting at my desk at work I received a call from a neurology office. For months and months Patti had been going for tests of one kind or another to try and determine an intermittent and remitting tingling/numbness she would get in her fingers.
The caller explained Patti was crying uncontrollably and could I come get her. No more insight except their address and directions.
Patti does not cry. This is a woman who had a root canal done without Novocain because she did not like the after affects of Novocain. In all these years I can only remember her crying one other time.
Upon arriving I found Patti still crying alone in an examination room. Her neurologist appeared and explained he had told her that “she probably has Multiple Sclerosis” … “I gave her some brochures to read” … “I returned to see if she had any questions and found her crying uncontrollably” … “She appears to be emotionally upset.” … “I do not think she should drive.”
Neurologists have not gotten any better over the years. I imagine that serial killers have better interpersonal skills.
Those brochures from decades ago were laced with words like incurable, progressive, handicapped, wheelchair, shortened life expectancy. Can you think of more wonderful reading material while reeling from the shock of hearing the diagnosis “probable Multiple Sclerosis”?
I can never grasp the depth of Patti’s shock and terror. My memory is a conflicting storm of anger and compassion.
More like plastic pets, telephones now even tag along with us.
Yet any call could find you reaching to answer or reaching into life’s grab bag.
“Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.”
Alexander Bell, March 10, 1876
(first successful telephone transmission of speech)
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