As anyone knows who has served as a caregiver for a family member, you enter this world that operates quite differently from the so called regular world which you’ve grown accustomed to.
This world of illness and hospitals and nursing homes definitely works on a different time zone. Long hours are spent waiting, then all of a sudden there is a storm of activity that leaves you with whiplash when it’s over with. I really feel for those that have no one to help them through this, because everyone should have a healthcare advocate. There’s no way my mom or my dad would have managed dealing with the healthcare system without having someone in their corner to ask the important questions, to stand up for them, to be their support system.
I wish I had done more for Dad so I’m trying to erase that guilt by being here for Mom now. I certainly feel her gratefulness and appreciation, and know in my heart I have made the right decision to be here with her.
It’s frightening how we are at the mercy of the healthcare system to provide for our medical needs. The simplest task becomes an ordeal. You have to put so much faith in a bunch of strangers who are overworked and stressed out. Hospitals and nursing homes are woefully understaffed, but there seems little concern to addressing the issue, because when you are sick and in need of care, most often you will choose the hospital or care center closest to where you live. It’s not often that you hear of hospitals shutting down. Nursing homes don’t close up shop unless they are socked with a major infraction, like patient abuse.
When I receive a day or two of respite, I find it hard to try to adjust back to the normal world. The one where people are not always talking or thinking about illness, the one where people don’t spend all day in the hospital or care center. I feel a bit like an alien observing a different life form.