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Role Reversal - As a caretaker, I need some practice.

January 30th, 2012 by despitelupus

I mentioned in an earlier post that the coldand flu bug had made an unwelcomed stop at our house this winter. Turns out hewasnt quite finished with the Gormans, as of my last posting on the subject.Turns out Johnny had a very up close and personal visit with Mr. Flu Bug andman, did he suffer. Johnny was down and out for almost a week. He had a feverand was achy and fluish for at least 5 days, confined to the bed for most ofthat time. By the 6th day, he still wasnt himself, but there washope. And for those of you wondering, no, he did not get a flu shot this pastfall. But ask him his plans for next year I think his feelings on the subject have sincechanged.

What did this mean for me? It meant that I hada crash course in Caretaker 101. Now for the record Johnnys a goodpatient. He doesnt ask for much and when he does, he tries to ask foreverything (i.e. toast, a cup of coffee, a glass of orange juice, some water, anew Kleenex box and a medicine refill) all at once, rather than calling me inevery fifteen minutes for something new. And hes a discreet sickie nocomplaints, heavy sighs, or excessive moaning and groaning. He just lies there andtakes it like a grown up. But, the fact that he was sick still required a skillset that I havent exercised in a long time, if ever.

Sure, I take care of my girlsbut thatsdifferent. Theyremy girls. They dont know enough to ask me to get somemedication from the drugstore, or to call the doctor, or bring them morefluids. I initiate all of the caretaking in the case of Deirdre and Bernie, andits very different from catering to a sick and homebound adult.

So I had to brush up on a few things, primarily the virtues of patience, consideration,and kindness. I learned how to put someone elses needs above my own personalagenda, and hopefully, not make it seem like I was doing so. I was reminded ofthe value of conversation (because Johnny was in no condition to chit-chat),the benefits of running a household with the help of someone else, and sharingthe responsibility of child-rearing. As I retrieved extra blankets, waterbottles, and cough drops, I was reminded how many times Johnny had taken care ofme. How many days on end hed tucked me into bed, sat with me while I took mytemperature, brought me warmer pajamas, or filled up my water glass. I rememberJohnny doing everything he could to make me as comfortable as possible andnever making me feel like I was asking too much. And most importantly, doingthat day after day after day.

A bout of flu typically lasts a week, and bothJohnny and I are ready for this flu bug to get on its way for good. And yet, alupus flare doesnt have the luxury of being confined to a week. A flare can lastfor weeks, if not longer. Thats why Im committed to keeping those flares atbay. I certainly wont hesitate to put Johnny in the role of caretaker if needbe, but if I can do anything to prevent it, Im certainly going to try!
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Tags: lupus, fever

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