Too frequently a family member, friend, neighbour or others we know are diagnosed with a serious ailment. That “news travels fast” is an understatement, and despite pleas for privacy - everyone is a-buzz.
Well-meaning offers of assistance, advice, carefully spoken encouragements or even probing questions can be nearly overwhelming!
After the proverbial dust settles and people are no longer so attentive, a routine may develop which involves a spouse or other caregiver from dawn to dusk, as well as interrupted sleep through the night to meet the needs of a loved one or patient who is unwell.
The prognosis may not be a guarded opinion or clearly terminal, there are many situations where caregivers toil courageously over long periods of time, the commitment seldom eases. Children may have any number of debilitating conditions and require ongoing attention and assistance; victims of accident might find their lives and lifestyle turned topsey-turvy; parents or partners may develop dementias; others may suffer the cruelty of incurable relentless conditions.
While television, print media and support-group efforts create an awareness not previously learned, until people walk in someone else’s moccasins as a selfless caregiver, there is only surmise, not knowing.
In-home caregiver family members can hardly participate in an exciting conversation about trivia or fun, the row they hoe is long, winding and fraught with challenges. A quick trip to the grocery store for food basics must be scheduled, time-frame predictable, and with backup in place!
Courageous men, women and children are all around us, seldom complaining – just doing what needs to be done. When we hear a radio account, view a television documentary or news clip, or read a magazine article about the intricacies of managing the task loads and keeping a steady hand on the tiller – let us be grateful for our own good fortunate and send good thoughts to the unsung heroes we may know of, haven’t yet met, or will never meet.