Friday, September 23, 2011

reflections on Pat Robertson’s remarks

“Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it just hurts instead” (‘Someone Like You’ by Adele)

While Pat Robertson certainly kicked a hornet’s nest with his recent remarks about divorce and caregiving, hopefully when the buzzing settles down more people than before will have given some thought to the challenges of long term spousal caregiving.

Robertson was specifically discussing one person’s situation of Alzheimer’s caregiving, yet other chronic illnesses and/or disabilities, including Multiple Sclerosis take a toll on relationships. d-i-v-o-r-c-e multiple sclerosis

What caught my attention was Robertson’s caution that the divorcing spouse would have to ensure custodial care and somebody looking after their wife or husband.

The spouse caregiver should have a plan ensuring continuing custodial care and somebody to look after their wife or husband NOW, if not already. What’s divorce got to do with it? I’d bet that far more people are left without somebody looking after them due to overwhelmed caregiver plans than divorce. Yet where’s the buzz or better yet the help with this concern?

Considering oneself the ‘well’ spouse or ‘able bodied’ spouse is always a touch delusional. Statistically the caregiver life span will be shorter and unquestionably abilities and resources will only decline. Butterfly effect MS caregiving

A care plan based on the assumption of immortality and invincibility is risky. Or as Dr. Phil might ask Achilles, how’s that working for you?

Even though Robertson certainly also pushed the hot buttons of companionship, love, religion and intimacy, IMHO he concluded wisely “… the last thing I would do is condemn you for taking that kind of action.”

20 some years ago I remember typing onto a Prodigy ‘bulletin board’ that I would never judge another spouse caregiver.

This planet is too full of people judging people and not enough caring.

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer 
web site:  


  1. I've judged caregivers(including self-judgment), but usually in situations where I felt I could do something about it ...& tried to. Not that my way of looking at it is right...or fair...or that I even know what the hell the other person is going through..but there were times I truly feared for certain people.

  2. Hey Mary! Now 'self judgment', there's something I embrace. Even after 20 years of this, knowing at the end of each day I could have done it better or planned better - motivates. ... and spawned this journal of trial and error learned lessons.

  3. This post really touches home. My best friend was just told she has gone from Relapsing-Remitting MS to Secondary Progressive. The same day her husband told her he's leaving her. It is very hard not to judge. She is not in need of full-time care at this time but she is quickly approaching the need for a wheelchair. I don't know what to advise her and really feel helpless to help.

  4. oklhdan when I try to drop in to visit your blog Google keeps greeting me with a warning page "WARNING: something's not right here - your computer might catch a virus if you visit this sight. Something to do with" I used to be able to visit you just fine, any ideas?

  5. oklhdan, blogging logistics aside you hit the nail on the head - divorce unquestionably and emotionally can be devastating, unfortunately it's also a door to awareness of long term caregiving challenges. Judging is so hard to resist. People are imperfect and caregiving tests a relationship like nothing else.

  6. I agree with your last line, Patrick. Definitely less judging, more caring. I can't even begin to comment about Mr. Robertson's statement on the issue. He has a history of saying perhaps a lot of things that stir up hornets' nests. But I know it has caused some debate and perhaps maybe even some people thinking ahead of what may be required if they are ever in a caregiving or caretaking situation.


  7. Oh dear god, what is happening with the order in the universe?! -- when I'm not offended by something Pat Robertson says.

    The older I get, the grayer life becomes. That black and white clarity of youth blurs a bit more each year as I embrace the complexities of the human condition.

    Oh, and oklhdan, I too get an apocalyptic message from my virus software when trying to visit your site.


  8. I neglected to directly acknowledge that long-term care taking ranks up way up there in the complexities of the human condition.

  9. I'm with Donna — astonished and amazed that Pat Robertson said something that doesn't piss me off.

    The transition from spouse/lover/whatever to spouse/caregiver is one that nobody wants to make, and not everybody can. It's hard, hard, hard, emotionally and physically. Having seen it, I don't think I could do it, myself.


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