Friday, February 01, 2013

it takes a team

Televised american football always has that moment when the cameras zoom in on a coach prowling the sidelines like a giant insect in headset with antennae.

Yet in real life there is no ‘sideline’, nor are there grown men running around in spandex jumping on each other.

Instead it goes like this …

Driving in one direction to visit a neighbor in a hospital recovering from surgery our daughter heads in the other direction to pick up Patti for an outing from her care facility where she finds Patti finishing her dental checkup.

Not only do I love dentists that make house calls to care facilities but even better when they call me on my cell phone to give me the update knowing Patti’s memory sucks. Which also gives me the opportunity to share my own diagnosis of lung cancer and that the young adult spinning in the therapy chair will sooner than later be taking over as Patti’s POA. … priceless!

Rendezvousing at home we play Trivial Pursuit xBox 360.  With our daughter operating the controller for all of us the game moves along well. Patti can actually see the questions on our screen plus with crowd sounds from cheers to ooohs it has a stadium feel to it.

Later preparing Patti for bed I notice a strange brace laying on her bed, when I ask about it the LPN claims its Patti’s. “No way!” I exclaim I even have a picture of her braces I can email when I get home.

Next day I get a call from physical therapist explaining that everyone was correct. Patti’s knee contracture braces were changed a couple months ago from the type on the left to the style on the right. However since she only wears them at night this is why I likely I had never seen them.

Yesterday I get a call that Patti’s doctor wrote an order for speech therapy evaluation. CNA’s in ‘assisted dinning’ were noticing Patti was increasingly ‘pocketing food in her mouth’. Leaving a message for therapist, I hear back from her within the hour and we briefly chat, I do have two decades 'hands on' experience with Patti’s dysphagia including with what I call “chipmunking” but I learned is officially called ‘pocketing’.

Patti is unable to direct her own care. Someone has to coach her team both on site and off. A good ol’ flip phone is all I need … of course living with my lung cancer diagnosis, a ‘coach in waiting’ spinning in chairs never hurts. J

Patrick Leer
Health Activist:
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @

1 comment:

  1. Great (and timely!) coaching analogy, Patrick. It all – from living with the disease to serving as a loved one's caregiver – is very much like coaching in the big games. 'cept nobody ever gave us a playbook for any of it, huh? It's like each day we step to the line to run the play we called in the huddle, all while staying flexible to quickly call an audible when our diseases come at us with something different than we planned. You have my vote for Coach of the Year, my friend! Dan


Blog Archive