Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

I Am A Horrible Caregiver

The truth is out.  I am a horrible caregiver at least by Wendy’s description.  Wendy could not believe her eyes with the first cut that Madison received as I sent Madison to her mother for care instead of my simply just washing it, putting some disinfectant on it, and then a bandaid.  It sounds simple, but it is not, for me.

I have surgery scars all over my body, the biggest being the scar over my chest from the heart surgery.  I have been through cancer and chemotherapy.  Hundreds of needles for bloodtests.  I have even had blood coming from somewhere no man ever wants to see blood.

But show me a papercut and I will hit the floor.

As a patient, I was compliant with whatever the nurses and doctors wanted me to do.  I was called inspirational because I truly wanted to recover, from the cancer, from the heart surgery, and countless other maladies that required a period of rehabilitation.  I am a very proud person.  I am not in the habit of asking for help or assistance.  If I completed tasks before the event on my own, I could to it on my own afterwards.  Nurses were especially supportive while the doctors did the recognizing and congratulating for the efforts.  No one can tell me I cannot do something when I am so focused.

Maybe I was inspired by Rocky in the second movie when Adrian finally wakes up from her coma.  Rocky tells her that he is done fighting, he wants to care for her, and draws him close and repeats, “win, win.”  Mickey yells out, “What are we waiting for?” 

When I went through my recoveries, I know people watched me.  If they knew me, they were inspired by me.  And if theydid not know me, they saw someone fight to get back, what once was.

I take that same approach when the shoe is on the other foot, and I am the caregiver.  With cuts and bruises, I am just pretty much shake it off, get it cleaned up and move on.  But when it is something of a serious level like a heart attack, cancer, or car accident, you have obviously been given a second chance.  And I know what that feels like.  I want you to have that too.  I am not short on empathy, but I have zero supply of pity face to face with the individual.  As far as I am concerned, there is only one time when it is acceptable to give up.  Otherwise you fight.  I will stand by your side and help you, but the sorrow goes away once you are given the order to get well.

My daughters call it being “mean”.  Instead of hugs, and “that’s okay” comfort quotes I am more like Jillian Michaels.  If the doctors have given you the all clear to rehab, then you have no reason not to.  I am telling you, that you have no right to give up.

My cancer diagnosis, heart surgery and my never ending late side effects from my cancer treatments, I have done nothing but look forward.  I want to function.  There is no reason for anyone to have to care for me, except offering me encouragement.

But I have been on the other side of the field more than double the times I was a patient.  A car accident, a crippling illness, surgery.  I will make sure that as a caregiver, that you follow the doctor’s orders.  I will not let you give up.  I will do your grocery shopping for the temporary time, your laundry, and cleaning.  We will go for walks.  I will not let you sit on the couch by yourself, in the dark.   I will be your advocate and help you ask those that you need answers from.  As far as dealing with blood… I do what I have to.

Maybe I am not such a bad caregiver after all.

Single Post Navigation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: