What I Learned About Caregiving

It was not until my husband had surgery that I thought of myself as a caregiver.  This might sound funny to you.  My image of a caregiver is someone without any medical background, learning everything from the healthcare staff or things they read on the internet.  Although my expertise as a nurse was invaluable to my husband’s hospital stay and now recovery, I am first and foremost his wife, friend and life explorer. 

Emerson Point Preserve, Manatee County

Emerson Point Preserve, Manatee County

My role as a wife and friend just expanded as caregiver to someone who went through a serious operation.  Reflecting now, my biggest fear was losing the man I married, my sailing buddy and the fun adventures we share today.  The other piece that became very clear was that as his companion, I know all his idiosyncrasies.  What makes him laugh, if he's angry or sad and the respect and love we have for each other.  Would these paid hospital healthcare providers know this?  The answer is no. 

Although we entrusted his life over to the scientific care of an expert surgeon, his team and amazing nurses, I am ultimately his advocate.  I am the person he trusts that will help him get through this event in his life.  If I had not had the experience as a critical care nurse, I would have consulted a nurse advocate.  When he was waking up from anesthesia, it was my nurses eyes that were "on" assessing all of his systems, the tubes and talking with the post-op nurse. 

When you hire Anchor Healthcare Advocates, you will get an experienced nurse with knowledge of your disease process and demonstrate communication with the healthcare providers to obtain accurate and timely answers to your questions.  They will take extra time to listen with family and the patient and be objective with their assessment of your loved one. 

Many people try and be their own healthcare advocate without the proper education and experience.  This is when confusion and havoc come into play.  It would be as if I insisted on joining the operating team and be a surgeon without a surgical residency or medical degree. Thankfully, I know my boundaries and limitations.  I stayed in the waiting room while the surgeon performed the operation.  With a well thought out and researched plan, we chose a remarkable specialized surgeon.  This is a perk you'll get with Anchor.  Finding a reputable, board certified surgeon in the respective field is vital to a strong wellness plan.   

As a caregiver, I also asked for help from family and friends.  My mother-in-law flew in for the week to be by my side and ultimately see her son through the major operation. I had nurses I worked with to talk with and friends who came by.  I had family texting and calling throughout the day of surgery sending their love and support.  I was able to get away each day to be home for just a couple of hours and de-stress. 

When I look at my husband, I don't see him as a patient.  I see the man I met years ago as my high school prom date and high school sweetheart,  now my husband of 9 years.  He is the light that gives me joy each day.  I often tell him, that my whole nursing education and career was for the purpose of being his nurse advocate.  What a gift I have today.

Let Anchor Healthcare Advocates be the gift you give your family and friends during times of illness to create their smooth journey toward wellness and recovery.