Day in and day out, 90 million family caregivers in the United States fulfill a vital role on their loved one's care team. No one else is in a better position to provide comfort and support, to advocate on behalf of the patient, and to ensure continuity of care.
So, in this case, a friend's child is in the Intensive Care Unit at a nearby hospital, in serious condition after a very brief illness. There are pets and other children to care for. Here are my best suggestions.
This week, The Pollination Project and our community of Daily Givers supported projects that strengthen our food supply by caring for bees, helping people find culturally-relevant ways to access and enjoy vegan food, encouraging people grow food and teaching people healthier ways to cook.
Parents want me to find a way to make the little fever or the last bit of diarrhea go away (which I can't do, sadly) because until it does, they can't go to work. For me as a doctor, it's kind of nuts -- and not the best use of anyone's time, let alone health care dollars.
People often forget to check in on the parents. They are struggling with exhaustion, confusion and fear. Be there for them by being present to their struggle. Just listen -- they know you cannot fix things. They just need love.
That's where I was for much of last month. Learning many lessons. Cleaning up bodily fluids. Spending a lot of money on Gatorade and Pedialyte. And sending mental apologies to that mom whom I once doubted, because being at work is infinitely better than all this gross nonsense.
He stares at me, along with the photographer and three preschool teachers, as I jiggle the damn stuffed lamb and make it bite my face and bleat and all the while he's firing The Stink Eye at me but it's not even a stink eye so much as it's unimpressed boredom and a tinge of... Is that disdain?
Two days after our twins' premature birth, we found out that our little Eva had severe congenital heart abnormalities. When the hospital staff told me, I could feel my own heart just sink. Our world had changed in an instant, but we didn't have time to catch our breath.