Becoming a caregiver for someone you love can be a wonderful, but terrifying experience. If you approach the experience with a deep love for your family member and the determination to make sure they are safe, loved and fulfilled as a human being should be then you will be wonderful as a caregiver!
My most terrifying moment as a caregiver was the day we brought Dad back home. He’d arrived via medical transportation and shortly afterwards I was alone with him for the first time. I stood there scared beyond everything.
I was completely responsible for Dad’s health and well-being. I had completed the coursework, testing and clinical experience required by my state to do this work. I even had the little piece of paper to prove it!
But as I stood by Dad’s bedside that fateful afternoon I was nearly paralyzed with fear. I was scared that I would do something wrong. I was worried that I would cause him unnecessary harm with my ineptitude.
I took a deep breath. I exhaled. I did it a few more times – just to make sure I could. I decided to start with the basics of caregiving.
I took Dad’s hand, told him that I was going to do my best for him and that I may have a bit of a learning curve. I let him know that everything was going to be ok. I spent several minutes talking to him, holding his hand and comforting him.
In comforting Dad I found that I was also comforted. In telling him everything would be ok I felt that it would be ok.
I began to relax. The fear that had frozen me dissipated and I was able to begin providing the personal care Dad needed.
There were times I made some mistakes, those mistakes didn’t make his condition worse. The mistakes were a part of my learning curve and I did learn from them. I used these lessons to provide even better care for Dad.
In the end I knew I had done everything I could to honor my father. I had given him the care he needed. I had ensured that his final days, weeks and months had been spent surrounded by love. I do not regret forcing myself through my paralyzing fear – I would do it a thousand times over.