Walking The Tightrope
With the worldwide pandemic I find that I have gotten away from writing about what I am most passionate about. And that is Surviving Medical Mayhem, being a caregiver and/or being a care receiver.
It was recently brought back to the forefront when I was talking to someone who is struggling to balance work, family, and aging parents. Caring for herself (she’s not getting any younger either), her husband, children, business, and an aging parent feels like walking a tightrope she has little ability, experience or desire to master. And yet, here she is.
Lately her elder family member has experienced a recent stroke, the loss of her husband and diminished physical capacity to care for herself and her home. Although she has made a remarkable recovery there are daily routines that are now more difficult and are causing reason for concern. Pride and denial seems to get in the way of any help offered. Frustration and fear cause caustic conversations and behavior that has everyone worried. This elder parent is watching her world become smaller and smaller while trying to live each moment as her last knowing that her last moments may be just around the corner.
I have conducted workshops on how to survive medical mayhem and we could spend a whole lifetime sharing. But as I listened to my friend’s conundrum I was transported back in time to when my mother and I were facing just such juxtaposition.
One of the most helpful things Mom and I started to do was a regular “play date”. It began about 10-11 am on Thursdays because that was a lighter business day for me. I would drop Francesca off to school and get some work hours in before picking Mom up to “play”. On days she was feeling good we would go shopping, run errands, have lunch out. On “sick days” we would just “hang out” at her apartment, order take out, and watch her favorite shows. The day belonged to my mom. She looked forward to those days and for the most I never changed the day. Now that didn’t mean I wouldn’t have her over for Sunday dinner or even to spend the night on other days, but this day was set aside. She could count on it. It helped relieved the guilt of feeling I was failing her and she didn’t make sharp barbs that I was too busy for her or that she never knew when she would see me. More importantly, as I look back on those “play dates” they hold some of my best memories spent together.
With the pandemic these days, spending time together is made more difficult especially if your loved one is immune compromised. But setting a specific time to Zoom or Skype, or have social distancing coffee or cocktail hour and keeping that time as sacrosanct will go a long way to helping soothe the relationship.
Walking the tightrope of a caregiver in an ever changing and challenging world requires balance. A part of balance is to keep your head up and looking ahead, arms held out to the sides to hold steady through the storms. Each step is placed firmly, moving forward to where God is taking you – not to harm either you or your loved ones but to strengthen and bring you both to a place of peace.
Since my website is indeed about helping people deal, heal, survive and thrive through medical adversity I want this to be a place where conversations, questions, and suggestions can be made and shared. If you have ideas on how to help soothe the caregiver/care-receiver relationships please share them so others might learn from your experience. Likewise, if you have a question, concern or problem please think about sharing it here and allow others to help be a part of the solution. We can’t do everything by ourselves but we can do everything together.
Won’t you join me in the conversation?
Thank you for reading my post. If you have found it encouraging please consider liking, commenting or sharing it. Feel free to even re-blog – may these words take flight!
I have additional insights I’d love to share with you found in the pages of my debut book: Surviving Medical Mayhem – Laughing When It Hurts. To order a copy or learn more go to my website at www.lorettaschoen.com
Blessings for Health & Wellness.