Thursday, May 01, 2008
Caregiving: episodes and bystanders
I want to refer back an entry. “Op. cit.”, if I remember correctly from old college term paper days.
‘Aggressive episodes’ and or inappropriate behavior unquestionably affect caregiving and public outings.
Most important, an episode DOES NOT define a person anymore than a disease defines a person.
To not venture out is nuts. Isolation is counterproductive. People in need and caregivers are no more prone to be hermits than anyone else.
Oh yes! You may raise some eyebrows but what of it?
A stranger “interfering” is a genuine concern because unfamiliarity could accelerate an episode and people could get hurt.
My experience has been that you are more apt to draw stares and whispered asides than ever actual interference.
“Bystander apathy” is a psychological phenomenon in which someone is less likely to intervene when other people are present. In public settings there is a diffusion of responsibility.
I wish all outings could fit ‘appropriate’ standards of behavior. Most times it all fits like a glove. Some times well … it can be interesting to say the least.
Wednesday, while Patti finished her cigarette I parked her near a display of plants and pots. I stepped away from her for no more than seconds to look at a plant when I heard her say “Thank You”.
Turning back I watched her flick her ash and then drop her cigarette into a pot that a shopper had just placed next to Patti so the shopper could reach into her own purse. The shopper and attendant were both slack jawed.
I emptied the cigarette butt and ashes out of the pot, explained that Patti was legally blind from Multiple Sclerosis and offered it to the shopper. Who stepped back like I had put a snake in her pot. Patti in the meantime realizing what had happened collapsed in laughter.
Trying to laugh breathe and talk at the same time, Patti blurts out, “The world’s a f#@cked up place. You have to enjoy it. That’s my motto” … (pausing to look around and then into the suddenly notorious pot) … “What happened to my cigarette?”
Caregivingly Yours, J Patrick Leer
(also available in Blogger edition, Caregiver Blog: "Caregivingly Yours")
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