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A Fearless Caregiver Story
By: Myrna B. Lambert
A fearless caregiver is a guardian
A caregiver is defined as an individual who takes care
of a sick or disabled person. Caregivers must also be
advocates: taking notes at the doctor's office,
administering medications as prescribed, and following
My husband Larry had multiple sclerosis. While on
vacation, Larry fell out of bed and broke his hip. He
was immediately taken to the nearest hospital. I
contacted a surgeon, but he could not perform the
surgery for two days. The nurse provided my husband with
medications to ease his pain. Little did I realize that
the pain would be the least of his problems.
Later that day, the nurses administered his daily
medication. Larry began hallucinating. Something was
seriously wrong. I requested the medication chart and
discovered he had mistakenly been given seven times the
prescribed amount of one drug! He was completely
I immediately left the room to find a doctor. When I
returned, Larry was gone! The nurse said that my husband
was in ICU because they could not control his erratic
behavior. I rushed to the ICU and found Larry delirious.
I demanded to see the medications they were giving him
and, to my astonishment, I discovered they were
administering high doses of a tranquilizer. Transforming
into a fearless caregiver, I ordered them to cut the
dosage. In place of a tranquilizing medication, I stated
that I would stay with my husband. The head nurse
ungraciously consented and I began a 24/7 shift that
lasted for two days.
The following day, the administrator informed me that
they were going to give Larry a spinal prior to
surgery. Immediately, I telephoned his multiple
sclerosis doctor to make sure a spinal was an
appropriate procedure considering Larry’s medical
history. He stated, “No spinal unless absolutely
It was now apparent that I was in for another argument
with the hospital staff. I then spoke with the
orthopedic surgeon. Thankfully, he agreed with our MS
doctor and the spinal was shelved.
The doctor recommended a rehabilitation institute
following Larry’s surgery. I contacted an excellent
rehab facility and they agreed to accept him.
On the third day, the nurse said Larry could not go to
this particular institute because they had no room. The
hospital was discharging him that evening and sending
him to a nursing facility.
I replied that we were not going to a nursing home since
our rehabilitation facility had accepted him. In a huff,
the nurse left the room. She returned fifteen minutes
later, explaining that Larry needed to vacate the
hospital or I would be required to pay out-of-pocket.
One hour later, another nurse appeared, reporting that
the hospital had received permission for immediate
transfer. Fortunately, Larry did well and we returned
home six weeks later.
To all dedicated caregivers, make time to discuss
important decisions with family members and if something
does not feel right, speak up. Your loved one has
complete trust in you. You are his guardian angel.