At first blush it would seem strange that a patient is writing about the role of the caregiver. When you stop and think about it though, who else is in a better position to analyze what the caregiver must do and how the myriad tasks undertaken by the caregiver must be performed? All that is necessary is to take a few steps back and watch and remember. Fortunately for me, I had an expert as a role model. My caregiver was so good she is the archetype for the job. It is a gift that can be taught to others.
At the outset let the following be stated: It is harder to be a caregiver than it is to be a patient. The patient need only follow instructions, go with the flow and try not to become a complete jerk wallowing in the delicious agony of being sick. The patient may beat the chest, bemoan the cruel fates that have brought on this low point of existence, weep and wail and become everybody’s least favorite thing, a martyr. The caregiver does not get off so easy. I get it, the patient is afraid. So what? So is the caregiver, maybe even more afraid than the patient.
Consider just a few of the things a caregiver must do to prepare and to live with a heart disease patient, especially a patient requiring open-heart surgery:
- Get educated as to all the information required to understand the disease and all its manifestations (aren’t you glad you found this site?)
- Become an active participant in the patients’ treatment by attending all the doctor appointments and asking questions. The patient sometimes lives in a world of shock and denial in which case it becomes necessary for the caregiver to ask the questions.
- Learn and understand the drugs that will become part of the patients’ daily routine.
- Learn and understand the diet that the patient must adapt and adopt.
- Supply an abundant amount of tender loving care during trying circumstances.
Also, please understand I cannot cover everything my caregiver covered in The Simplified Handbook for Living With Heart Disease and Other Chronic Diseases. I can cover only a few of the highlights.