An Unplanned Exit, pt 1

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July 20, 2009 by David Gillaspie


A neighbor stops by DG’s B&B for a few hours.  It’s nothing regular, he just comes to vent:

“Family caregiving always ends the same if you do it right.  It’s not a job that regenerates itself like an auto parts factory re-tooling for next year’s model.  Family caregivers face the same model year after year.

Farmers and family caregivers have more in common, except there’s no plant and harvest cycle governed by the season for caregivers.  In their world it’s either on or off.

Airplane pilots are further away.  They take an airplane up, land it, and walk away.  Their work depends on schedules and fuel. 

Caregiving runs by different parameters.  For one it is open-ended; time loses meaning unless there’s a doctor’s appointment.  For another caregiver fuel is likely to give out before a loved one’s. 

People have ‘cared’ too much.  No one ever ‘dies’ too much.

Industries depend on supply and demand.  Supply more stuff when demand rises and make more money.  Ship manufacturing overseas and make even more money. 

Caregiving can’t be shipped overseas if you’re a caregiver.   Caregiving is not the American steel or auto industry.  Your care is in high demand and you supply all of it.  You are a caregiving monopoly. 

Your strength of character lets you stand by your loved one through the best of times and the worst of times.  Once you start, you’re starting every day. 

And you are the one who makes that day live up to its promise.”

Sometimes he talks about caregiving, sometimes wrestling.  Sometimes it’s both. 

He used to take his father around the block with a walker.  Then it was a wheelchair.  I haven’t seen them together recently.


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