“Giving the gift of receiving,” sounds like a contradiction. How can you give a gift that you receive? I think you can and I think it can be the greatest gift you give and receive all year. Here’s why.
As a caregiver for someone who is totally disabled with very limited abilities, my world is very structured and organized. It has to be in order to keep Lynn healthy, to meet all his abundant needs, and in order to get all those things done that must be done by the end of each day. Because I must be so organized, changing my schedule or having someone come in to “help” me is often very disruptive. I know they are well meaning and I know they truly want to help; I get that, but truthfully, it’s also disruptive even while helpful. If someone is coming over to help, they typically want to do it first thing in the morning to get it out of the way so they can get on with their day. I would want to do that as well so I understand why they ask to come over early. However, in order to receive visitors, I have to make sure that Lynn’s three-hour morning routine is completed before they arrive. So if someone wants to come in “mid-morning” at 9:00 a.m. because he/she is an early riser, then I must get us up at 6:00 a.m. Getting up at 6 doesn’t sound bad except when you realize we can’t get to bed most nights until 2 or 3 a.m. Therefore, before a visit, we are often getting a “nap” rather than a night’s sleep which compromises not only my well-being but Lynn’s since he battles fatigue.
Another concern for letting people give their help is potential exposure to infections. When family members or close friends come over, they already know our “rule” for visiting–if you might be sick, don’t come! That little sniffle might not stop a visitor from spreading holiday cheer but from our perspective, they are bringing in a weapon that threatens Lynn’s safety and welfare. His immune system is compromised and an innocent, though irritating, cold for most people can put Lynn in bed or even the hospital for weeks. I remind anyone who asks to come over of our house rules, but occasionally they still show up with the sniffles thinking that they just won’t touch him or sneeze/cough in his direction and it will be okay, but what they forget is that the greater spread of their virus and other germs is not the cough or sneeze (though such an action carries the germ a good distance), it is the unwashed hands after such an event that touches something he or I use. Since I provide all his care, not only do I have to limit his exposure but mine as well so that I won’t be the carrier into his environment or I won’t become sick and unable to care for him. Therefore, though I try to be kind, if someone is sick I often ask them not to stay and help.
Continue reading at: http://multiplesclerosis.net/living-with-ms/giving-gift-receiving/