Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Ever Feel Like a Firefighter?

Welcome to Caregiver Friday!!!

Firefighters are amazing people.  They rush in to save people in the scariest of situations ensuring to the best of their ability your personal safety.  The same is true for caregivers; you rush in to help at a moments notice without considering the long-term impact of your actions.  You are the model of living in the here and now.  You’re commitment and generosity befits the heroism given to firefighters.

One of the things I’ve noticed over the years is that you, the caregiver, often rush into emotional and spiritual burning buildings without considering your own safety.  Firefighters prepare for these precarious situations by doing drills week in and week out.  Caregivers aren’t sent to bootcamp to figure out how best to deal with emergencies; changes in the health of the person you’re caring for, or what to do once you get into the proverbial burning building.

Just like life there is no caregiver handbook that can guide you through the process; it’s truly an on-the-job training experience.  It’s possible to get tips from others, but the thing that makes each situation different is that we’re dealing with people.  As a wellness partner to someone with a chronic or life-threatening illness a handbook would only be beneficial if there were a page devoted to every person in the world facing a health challenge.  It’s our human nature that throws kinks into caregiving equation.  It’s about taking the information available and assimilating it to your particular caregiving challenge.

My hope is that you consider your own health and safety when you rush into the burning building.  If you don’t set up a safety net who will be there for you if you fumble or fall?  You can potentially create a domino effect of falling and that wouldn’t be good for anyone.  I implore you to develop contingency plans because life is full of unexpected surprises.  How will you deal with these surprises?  Figure out how you will keep yourself safe and healthy as you move forth in your charge as caregiver/wellness partner.

Even though there aren’t any handbooks, the Courageous Caregiver,  is a five-part series dedicated to caregivers at www.survivingstrong.com.  The “Courageous Caregiver” is free and will give you the necessary resources to make caregiving easier.