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")


  1. Boy, oh boy, Patti sure gets around and keeps your and her life interesting to say the least.  Have a great weekend.
    Patricia in Chicago

  2. LOL; Patti still has her manners, though, LOL! you are absolutely right, though, got to get out and take your chances on what could occur, but there is a certain depression if one decides to remain isolated and away from the world

    I'm moving 05/08 - without Internet until 05/15 or so in case you don't see comments from me


  3. I know the inappropriate behavior can be a pain, but you know, for those of us who deal with it on a daily basis tend to have a better sense of humor about behaviors than 'normal' people. After all, if you can't laugh about it, you'll end up crying!


    PS: Patti is absolutely right!!  lol

  4. I gotta tell you I don't see anything wrong it Patti's behavior I find her an absolute delight...(Hugs) Indigo

  5. ...actually the inappropiate behavior was exhibited by the shopper who reacted so rudely.  We certainly need more Patti's in this world.  It amazes me that her responses when you think about it are very appropriate!!

  6. the lady with the pot was rude after you explained to her about patti how rude of her she should have laughed with patti:) enjoy your weekend



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