Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Caregiving as healing

The role of care-giver has been traditionally assigned to the health professionals that care for someone as long as this person is receiving some form of institutional health care. Only very recently, the care-giving provided by family members has began to be taken into account, but even then, it is seen only as providing ancillary services to the patient, especially when the patient has been sent home after a stay in a hospital.

Health professionals bring their knowledge and apply it to the patient, hoping to provide in most cases some healing or rehabilitation. But regardless of how well a patient is sent home, there is the loved one [...]

"Healing is the result of love. It is a function of love. Wherever there is love, there is healing. And wherever there is no love, there is precious little -if any- healing" wrote M. S. Peck (p.44, The People of the Lie, 1983).

I often wonder how much of Jan's healing -about which which all health professionals have confessed to not know how Jan's brain does it- is related to the loving care she has received from friends and family, independently from all the medical treatments to which she has been subjected.


Monday, December 07, 2009

The good and the bad without the ugly

In my relationship with my wife, I alternate between feeling some days like a teddy bear and other days like a dog. Some days, I seem to just do and say the right things that will get a lot of appreciation from her. Those days I am treated like a teddy bear. I am hugged, and kissed, I am cuddled, get a hot cup of chocolate and even some brownies. Other days, no matter how hard I try, I seem not to be able to get a syllable across, instead, I hear all the things that I have done wrong since I was born. Those days I am sent straight to the dog's house and I am given the silent treatment for hours on end. Those days, I feel like a dog.

While she was in the hospital, someone gave her a little soft, bean-filled, brown, barking dog (batteries not included). The dog sits with its face looking up to you and has a broad smile of its face. The best of it is its little tail. It looks as if it is ready to wag for any reason. I can't say that its just a dog, because it really is a beautiful little stuffed dog. My wife liked it so much that she kept it in her toys collection all this time.

Another person brought as a present a beautiful white teddy bear with black eyes. Its body is soft, its features resemble those of little children and call up a reaction of tenderness. The best part of teddy is its brown button nose, barely noticeable when it is sitting up.

These toys made me think of the opposite extremes of my experience as a care giver with my wife.

Some days I am a dog and other days a teddy bear.