FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN
/OK, Lesson Learned /
Last week, at our 60th Fearless Caregiver
conference, the importance of self-care was undeniably
demonstrated for me as well as all caregivers in attendance in a
most dramatic fashion. This event was held in Palm Beach, Florida
and the weather was as close to being a tropical storm as it
could be without the news stations going into full soap opera
interruption mode. We had broken one of our cardinal rules
about hosting these events and that is: stay north in the warm
months, south in the cold months, and avoid Florida during the
hurricane season. Thankfully, there was a lull in the downpour
during the time that people normally arrive and we began the day
with a packed house of hundreds of caregivers.
Just as the applause died down after our
luncheon speaker’s session ended, I took to the stage but before
I was able to utter a word, I heard someone cry from the
audience, “Is there a doctor in the house?” Not really something
you want to hear at any event. I stopped the proceedings and
went to the center of the room to find a well dressed grey
haired lady slumped over in her chair. There were no doctors in
the house but plenty of nurses and as I reached the table, two
of them were already assessing the situation. We immediately
called 911 who arrived there within minutes of the call. While
waiting for the ambulance to arrive, we tried to find out
everything we could to help her. The lady told us that she felt
like she was going to pass out. She had been attending the event
with her husband, a gentleman living with Alzheimer’s disease
who was sitting calmly next to her, and she was of course more
concerned about his care than her own.
When the paramedics arrived they made it
clear that she needed to go to the hospital with them; she
refused, but they insisted, explaining that she would probably
just relapse once she got home. They had difficulty getting her
to divulge any personal information but as they were patiently
persistent, she finally told them that her son lived in town. He
was contacted and advised to meet his parents at the hospital.
As she was being carried out, she told one of my associates that
she often stays up worrying about her husband all night and that
she never takes care of herself. She added that her friends had
coaxed her to attend the event knowing that she needed help, but
was not willing to accept any and hoped that she could learn
something about the importance of taking care of herself as a
caregiver while at the conference.
I think we all did.
Twelve years ago tomorrow, the first
issue of Today’s Caregiver magazine rolled off the presses
and since then the Today’s Caregiver magazine /
caregiver.com family has been honored to learn about love,
dedication and wisdom sharing from the family caregivers we
talk with each and every day. Thank you for your support
and kind words and we look forward to serving you for many
years to come.
My 12 in 12th gift.