Monday, April 2, 2012

empathy and caregiving

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

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

Recovering from surgery has been eye opening. Through a quartercentury of caregiving for Patti’s Multiple Sclerosis and physical decline, I’venever experienced physical compromise myself.

Yes, my pain and challenges are only temporary and in less than amonth will be gone but daily I find myself feeling staggered by the seeminglyendless 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. Shoulderharnesses may be safe but not ‘kind’ to ribs healing from being spread apartfor lung cancer surgery. Thank goodness for faux-down vests, the next best thing tobubble wrapping yourself. J

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

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer