Monday, April 02, 2012

empathy and caregiving


“You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” … Harper Lee, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

As I sat on the bathroom floor from my first and only fall during recovery (and with only my pride injured), I could hear echoes of my own voice asking Patti … “why are you still trying to do things you can no longer do?”

Recovering from surgery has been eye opening. Through a quarter century of caregiving for Patti’s Multiple Sclerosis and physical decline, I’ve never experienced physical compromise myself.

Yes, my pain and challenges are only temporary and in less than a month will be gone but daily I find myself feeling staggered by the seemingly endless ripples of change.

Even riding in our car or our wheelchair accessible van as a passenger is so rough on my ribs it feels more like a roller coaster. Shoulder harnesses may be safe but not ‘kind’ to ribs healing from being spread apart for lung cancer surgery. Thank goodness for faux-down vests, the next best thing to bubble wrapping yourself. J

Seeing, dealing with, and adapting to physical change from the caregiver’s perspective is incomparable to living it. 

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer 


8 comments:

  1. Love that Atticus Finch character. A very wise man. I wonder if I'd be less cranky about caregiving to Skip if I had more empathy or experienced a significant illness?

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    Replies
    1. I can tell you Cranky that sitting on the bathroom floor after falling was more than enlightening.

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  2. Peace from a person who stills tries to do some things she is told she cannot(or should not be able to) do. Real empathy comes from truly understanding, & sometimes it is just damn hard to truly understand unless you've gone through it yourself.

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  3. Did anyone say how long it will be before the ribs feel normal again? I am trying to prepare myself for Ron's probable lung surgery. Empathy is an acquired trait isn't it?

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    Replies
    1. I'm told every surgery is different and each person is different, however with that said my personal prognosis, "around 6 weeks"

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  4. That's a major surgery, I can't imagine the challenges in the recovery.

    Doris

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