A Caregiver's Nightmare - Part I
צוות iSavta | 12.11.2019
Because I care...
Who is death? Death is inescapable. Feelings, emotions are all part of the intrinsic make-up of life. Working as a paid caregiver in Israel, I cannot escape inevitable circumstances that come with the job. Paid caregivers like in my case are often overlooked in the general scheme of things. It appears that the love and endless patience that caregivers give to their patients are expendable and that the salary we get is enough compensation. Who am I to gripe when I entered this kind of job knowing what kind of events I will be exposed to? And in a sense, it is the truth. We are hired to take care of our patient, usually old people at their twilight years fast approaching the finish line of their life. We are expected to give the best of care but in this process, the caregivers often cannot give the best care without caring. Caring in the sense that the caregiver opens herself to the patient to create a harmonious relationship to the extent that they are open to the pain and suffering that one feels when watching a loved one die.
Live-in caregiving is a lowly job because of the nature of the work and not everyone has the stomach nor the temperament for it. It is a 24 hour job although we do not really work at all hours, it’s the boredom, loneliness and the same routine day in, day out of staying with an old person whose unpredictable moods is worse than the ups and down of the stock market. It took me some time to get accustomed to this kind of job. After several failures of working with several old women who have no cognitive problems, I choose a caregiving job with an old lady, Malka, who is very low in maintenance because her thinking capacity is more than halfway non-existent. It also means i am her hands, her feet and has to do the thinking for her. It’s more on physical work but less stress and hair-pulling.
After a year of working with her, a relationship has evolved between me and Malka. In order for me to do the things for her without getting rough or impatient, I had to learn how to love her. I tell you, changing adult nappies is one shitty task! And the sudden changing moods is enough to drive me mad and there are even times, I lose my control and I ended screaming at her and she would asked me nicely “what is the problem?”. Many time I ended up laughing like crazy. The real problems started after she had a fall and broke her hip. Now I realized that that was the beginning of the end. Our life then became an endless trip to the hospital, endless new medicines as I slowly watched her slipping away day by day. She struggled to hang on to life, spending a few weeks at home, and then back to the hospital again for a few weeks. Two weeks at home, two weeks at the hospital. That was the pattern of our life for half a year as she hangs on and defies the open jaws of death.
The thing was, I was feeling alone and abandoned by her family who are usually a no-show during crisis. Countless times I brought her to the hospital by myself by ambulance and struggle to let myself be understood because I can barely speak Hebrew. Many times, I squirmed in pity for her when they asked where her family is and she will turn and look at me blankly. I am not saying her family is bad, I am just accustomed to a culture where during crisis, with or without money, we gathered our forces to bring whatever support we can contribute.
Then comes the time that the hospital nor medicines cannot do anything anymore. I expected it. I know it. I am resigned to it. But deep down in my soul is the sorrow born of the love that I had cultivated in order for me giving her the best care that I can bring out of myself.
To be continued...
הרשמו ומצאו מטפלים כעת!