When I was trying to decide what to write about this week, I was having a hard time coming up with something unique. I’ve touched on many of the hardships and challenges associated with being a caregiver but as I look out the window at all the new growth for spring, I am also thinking of all the benefits.
Some of the challenges we ensure also have benefits associated with them. I realized early in my life of caregiving, actually when I was acting as both a Mom and caregiver for my child who had a chronic health condition too, that God prepares us for the challenges ahead without our realizing it. It seems in looking back that each difficult road I’ve traveled helped prepare me for something ahead that would have been more difficult if not for the previous experience. For myself, I find that God led me in a very unique way to prepare for where I need to be now.
I originally trained to be a nurse. My first nursing position was evening shift and I worked “the house” training other nurses in new procedures and helping out in all crisis events. I learned a lot of skills, both nursing and interpersonal. When my first child was born, my husband at that time wasn’t coping very well with being the one responsible for her care while I worked so I sought a day shift position. I became trained in Infection Control, Employee Health, and eventually was the Director of Education and Training. From there, I was asked to train in Human Resources so I could take over that department (this was obviously a small hospital). I eventually stayed in the area of Human Resources but moved to another hospital and focused on Employee Relations and development of policies. My role was primarily advisory in nature (over the phone or email consultations) and I learned the role technology could play in communication.
As you can see, my nursing and HR training, as well as experience in use of technology put me in a position to be able to work from home so that I could provide care for my husband. I can now consult with contacts by phone or email while I’m simultaneously assisting Lynn. My job with my company is no longer 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. but is now 24/7 (24 hours/day seven days a week). By working from home I access my emails and continue to work on projects between the times Lynn needs my assistance. I’m a 24/7 employee and a 24/7 caregiver. When you speak of multitasking…I’m the Queen!
I can be directing the action plan for a crisis while I am cooking spinach for Lynn’s diet and giving him his breakfast, all at the same time. In fact, I would say it’s pretty rare that I focus on one thing at a time. I expect that is true for all caregivers. Multitasking is a talent each of us has to develop in order to get everything done that we need to do. We each need more than 24-hours in a day but God in his wisdom realized that if he gave us any more, we would never get any rest! I know if I had more time, I would just fill it up with more tasks.
Though multitasking is a requirement for being a caregiver, it’s also a blessing we have been provided. It allows us to manage our lives and the lives of those to whom we provide care. It makes us better employees and more talented workers. We develop greater skill and stronger personalities. The only down side is we tend to try to do too much at any one time and we forget to take time for ourselves.
I guess every challenge has a benefit if we seek it. Sometimes we just have to look a little deeper to find it.