Wednesday, July 13, 2011

For Caregivers -The Smallest Gesture Means The Most

Being a caregiver is not easy at all.  Caregivers carry enormous responsibilites everyday.  Not only do we have the never ending stress on a daily and hourly basis of knowing the person we are caring for is constantly fighting to live, we endure enormous stress during times when we cannot do anything to make our loved ones lives better. 

Let me set the scene for those who read this and do not have a cancer patient to care for. Have you ever sat in a hospital waiting room just outside the OR as your loved one is undergoing major life-saving surgery?  Everytime that  door opens your heart skips a beat as you visualize the surgeon coming out to  give you the worse possible scenerio.  Your loved ones life is in the balance and there's not a darn thing you can do to help.  I'm sure now you can relate to the anxiety and uncertainty that I and other caregivers feel everyday as we watch our loved ones struggle to keep living.

I have come to realize as well that very few people tend to think of the caregiver and try to extend a helping hand if and when they can.  In my experience of being a caregiver now for over five years (for which I am truly thankful), only a very small handful of people  have ever asked how "I" am doing.  It's not that I want recognition, but there are many times during difficult days when just the smallest sign that someone out there cares, makes a huge difference!  I have a friend who always not only asks how my husband is doing, but also he never ends the conversation without asking how I'm doing and if there is anything that he can do.  Such a small gesture, but one that makes me realize someone out there truly cares.  Yesterday was no different, after going to get my mail and there it was, a "Thinking of You" card from a relative!  I appreciated the fact that someone took the time from their busy day to send that card just to let me know they were thinking of me and to help brighten my day. 

Why am I writing this post about caregivers?  It's to let those of you who read it really understand that being a caregiver is not an easy road to travel.  I received a comment a few days ago from a caregiver who was going to spend a night away from home and have a day of pampering - she needs that time to feel energized, in order to provide the best of care for her husband and I congratulate her for doing that. 

I would encourage ALL caregivers reading this to do just that "take time for yourselves" whenever you can do that.  We all need to re-energize.  Keep up the great work!!!

For those of you reading this who are not caregivers, I would encourage you all to connect with any caregivers you may know.  Such simple acts of kindness such as a telephone call, sending a card, or asking how they are doing will mean more to them than I could ever write in words.



5 comments:

Cheryl said...

Deb having both the caregiver and the patient since 1978 I believe I have a fairly balanced viewpoint. As a female caregiver, I found activities to assist my emotional wellbeing whereas, in my current situation as patient, Haydn has only himself. It can be very tough for him and I think he tends to hide his emotions.
Thankfully, blogging is also an outlet for those of us living in a 'virrtual' world.
My thoughts are with you. Love and gratitude for your contribution to us all.

Meya said...

So true Deb. My caregiver is one amazing person who I know I could not do without. He needs his time as well to live life away from cancer.

Susan White Hoff said...

Your blog spot ended up in my Google alerts this morning for Kidney Cancer. Your post about caregivers is spot on ... I am a caregiver to my 58 yr old husband who is stage 4 RCC. And your one statement "The smallest gesture means the most" is so true. Thank you for writing this.

Susan White Hoff said...

Your blog spot ended up in my Google alerts this morning for Kidney Cancer. Your post about caregivers is spot on ... I am a caregiver to my 58 yr old husband who is stage 4 RCC. And your one statement "The smallest gesture means the most" is so true. Thank you for writing this.

Whidbey Woman said...

Amen, AMEN! Thank you for this post.