For Caregivers, Life is Unpredictable
As a caregiver adapts to caregiving, a change occurs in how they look at their world. The caregiver thinks in terms of “right now” rather than “tomorrow.” No longer do they trust that plans made today will be relevant tomorrow or even possible. Too often, over the years, medical events require canceled or altered plans. Living with a chronic illness means life is unpredictable and best lived in the moment.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Caregivers learn to always prepare for the unexpected. Consequently, many caregivers live in the “right now” while always preparing for tomorrow.
After experiencing multiple changes in plans, caregivers realize guarantees do not exist. Therefore, it is important to enjoy each moment with their family members and never assume they will have more time. They learn to adapt quickly and not hold on to “things.” Realizing what is important, they set priorities accordingly and appreciate each event they can successfully attend or celebrate.
Defense Against Murphy’s Law
Please don’t misunderstand me, however. Living in the moment does not mean a caregiver fails to plan. Some might accuse caregivers of acting like hoarders. However, they have not lived the life of a caregiver.
Murphy’s law (whatever can go wrong will go wrong and at the worst possible moment) haunts caregivers as a personal enemy. When a caregiver goes out, they fear and, therefore, prepare for the worst. They pack a suitcase of “just in case” supplies because you never know when an “accident” might happen. Snacks, drinks, medicines, special equipment, entertainment, batteries (for said entertainment), blankets for cold offices, arm/leg warmers, hand sanitizers, wet wipes, etc., are necessities to have on hand for caregivers. Cars break down, appointments go longer than expected, and all sorts of things get added to the schedule making life a potential crisis if the caregiver is not prepared.
Store Up for Tomorrow
For mail-order “special” need items that take weeks to receive or often go on back-order, well, those items have a place in the caregiver’s home designated just for them. It’s not surprising to find a warehouse and inventory control system right in the caregiver’s home to help them maintain a constant supply stream. Panic ensues if supplies drop below the critical inventory level for fear the precious item will run out before UPS or Fed-ex pulls up with the necessary item on their truck. No kidding, courier drivers know the caregivers in the neighborhoods based on frequent “storing up” deliveries.
The supply chain crisis has been particularly difficult for family caregivers. Caregivers are at risk for emotional breakdowns as they try to find creative solutions to finding the resources necessary to keep their family members alive and well until cargo ships can off-load or truckers can drive cross-country.