Welcome to Caregiver Friday!!!
We love superheroes! We find the idea of fighting evil and protecting justice an exciting prospect. Television writers must know this because it shows up on television all the time and in comic books and movies. There’s something special about the relationship between the superhero and his/her sidekick. They have an undeniable bond that serves the cause and deepens their personal relationship.
Whether you want to take on role of superhero or leave that to the person fighting the illness is up to you. There is no denying that together you have the knowledge, wisdom and strength to achieve amazing things. One of the key aspects of the relationship that builds over time is trust and loyalty. Our tendency is to support the patient at all costs and protect them from harm. Now I’m not saying you should take a bullet for them, but there are times that you can shield them from news that may interrupt their determination.
As the caregiver/wellness partner you are often the public relations end of the duo. You may become the spokesperson and the advocate. You may need to present the patient’s decisions or requests depending on their health and their personal level of vulnerability. You are also the filter that information flows through so the patient can hear it clearly and concisely.
The other component of being part of this dynamic duo is the ability and willingness to ask the hard questions and bring up the sensitive topics. For some, the hardest and most sensitive questions are around end-of-life care. Unless there is another family member willing to step in, you can’t abdicate this responsibility. If you don’t feel comfortable bring in a professional who can facilitate the conversation and walk you through the process.
The relationship between patient and caregiver is sacrosanct. Whether spoken or implied there is a covenant between the two of you and your relationship during this time of illness is built on that covenant. I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t question or challenge the patients decisions and assumptions, but it’s like the rule in parenting; disagree in private and come out to the world with a unified front.