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Human Experiences Under Fire

I sit here, waiting on news about my boyfriend's father in the emergency room at Starbucks – hot tea in hand. Living through a scenario I've been through many times before with my parents, that began last night. A coughing spell led to chest congestion that he swears he didn't have. When he came close to falling last night, it became clear that a trip to the doctor would be in order at the age of ninety-one.

Hearing coughing and tethered breathing during the night, I called the health organization he belongs to the following day. My decision to take him into the emergency room was based on a conversation with the advice nurse, who led me through a myriad of questions and then said, 'You need to wait and see if there's nothing we can do.' Having been through this before, I repeated that I was trying to understand the next steps of where I should go if this progressed since I was unfamiliar with the 'chain' of command at this particular organization.

After a lengthy discussion with a doctor, she returned on the phone with, "Oh, the doctor says he should go to emergency right away!" At the risk of losing my somehow still-mild manner (breathe – pause – breathe – reply), I listened as she continued, "Go to the location at … tell them my name, and the doctor said so when you get there…"

I've had many questions from people who don't know what to do but don't want to push for answers seeking a resolution because they don't want to rock the boat. I've also seen people lose it with professionals because they are mentally and physically exhausted and didn't want to rock the boat—face-to-face with someone who is genuinely trying their best to help.

When you layer a world that has been through so much into caregiving, it is paramount to take a step back before reacting. Listen without fluff in your ear or a predisposition that you know the answer before you hear the whole story. Don't be afraid to ask questions and by all means, trust your intuition. Speak up but don't do so when you've mentally and physically exhausted yourself.

Finishing this blog comes on the heels of three tough nights at home, but I am grateful to say Mr. P is on his way to recovery.


Cyndi Mariner

Breathing Spaces

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