Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Road to Caregiver

Courage isn't the absence of fear; it's the dealing with it. -- Randall

It's two weeks before Christmas 2008. I stand at the bus stop (car at the mechanic's) with a trash bag holding my personal possessions gathered from my office, my heart racing as that dreaded animal known as “fear” rears its ugly head. The employment epidemic, a contagion of a bad economy, found me. The symptoms of this disease are emotional pain, insecurity, intense stress/anxiety, and just feeling lousy about myself. How could this have happened? I took all the preventative measures by working hard, being open, listening, and being a Company person. Geez, the week before I learned my named appeared on the Employee of the Week email!

Not being the inactive sort, I took some courses at the local community college. Sharpen my knives if you will. Unemployment benefits would keep me alive, but quite frankly, positions were few and far between. My “just older” status detracted, rather, than attracted potential employers. (I can still here all that experience going down the drain.)

I did well during the first quarter of the first semester, enjoyed my courses, and then the phone call came. My 85-year-old mother called to tell me she couldn't walk and would I come to check her out. Without breaking any HIPPPA regulations, let me just say that 9-1-1 arrived less than five minutes after I hit the door (more in a future post). She recovered, spent a few weeks in rehab and returned home. That was three years ago. My then 88-year old father suffered different issues, but all in all, stable.

As I searched the job market, went on second interviews, chewed my fingernails, I stayed close to attend to their routine needs – grocery shopping, bill paying, doctors' appointments, etc. The community college courses morphed into online courses to free up my time for job-hunting and very light caregiving.

One of the courses, I did attend was offered by the American Red Cross focusing on training caregivers. Over those weeks we reviewed the basics to quality caregiving. The course proved to be money well spent as well as prophetic. Little did I know what events were on the horizon.

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