Nearly from the beginning of our journey with Pulmonary Fibrosis my husband was approved for in-home care. At the time, it was not so much because he needed it, but because the person who evaluated him knew what a rapidly progressing disease this can be. Sadly, in our case, it has been true.
It has been almost one-year since then. During this period, we have had two, in-home care providers. I am so grateful that we were able to receive this service. It has also taken an adjustment for him, and our family, in having a stranger step into our lives. As helpful as it is, still, we must acknowledge that he needs assistance with everyday things. It takes a personal effort to learn to be yourself, while your life is completely changing, in the company of a stranger.
I believe it takes a good heart to go into the in-home care profession. We have also learned that it takes more than that. One should be dependable, empathetic, trustworthy and a good listener. These are things learned as we went along. I suppose you could say at the beginning we were rather "green" in what to look for.
The first in-home care professional was 19 years of age. Which never bothered me, as I knew how hard I worked at that age and after all, it wasn't that long ago (my sense of humor is showing). Nevertheless, when she asked if she could hold her wedding in our backyard, I really should have known it was a bit of a red-flag...
Call me thick-headed, but I told myself, "Ahhh, to be young and in love!"
I did grant permission, as long as no guests came into the house and she was responsible to clean-up after the event. Of course, the wedding never panned out. She stayed about four months, although when she told me she could no longer bring my husband his morning meal because she didn't feel comfortable in waking him; I knew she would not have the fortitude to go down the road that we were on.
How do I gauge my instincts in these things?
I simply ask myself, "If this were my eleven year old, lying in bed, would this be acceptable for his care?"
Now, for the men out there who just cringed...Trust me, I know my husband is not a child. Still, one must have a defining line in acceptable quality of care and that is how I determine mine.
The second nurse was ten years older than myself. She was quite capable and had no qualms about bringing my hubby his nourishment. Quite opposite of the first in-home care provider, she was going through a divorce. Several times she started her shift in tears and it really broke my heart. Although, I have kids who needed to be registered for school, a full-time job and the reason she was in my home- a very sick hubby. By now, his disease had progressed.
Within the third week, and due to her impending divorce, she let me know that she felt the death of a spouse is much easier to deal with than a divorce. After all, in a divorce one still has to deal with the other person moving on in life. Well, I disagreed. Death is never easy on the person dying. I wondered if she had looked at it from that standpoint?
Also- A woman's got to do what a woman's got to do! Therefore, she did inform me that when a "real" job came along, she would have to take it. As of last Thursday, that was exactly what she did. She now has a better job at our community hospital. This comes at such crucial point in my hubby's care.
But, don't worry - we are all human and things happen and this time, I know what we really need. We need a person that has their own life, but who lives in the present moment. When they are here in my home, they understand what is currently happening, in the moment, here.
Really, when I think about it, isn't that how we should all approach each moment- To be in the present?