When we care for someone, we have their best interest at heart. We want to see them function at their fullest, we want to see them comfortable, and we want them to be as content and happy as possible. It is what we do. We are caregivers.
Those are our main objectives, just as the main objective of this blog is to encourage us as we care for our child or spouse or friend who cannot care for themselves.
During this week I had to advocate for my husband in a situation that might surprise you – the doctor’s office. He had his quarterly visit with his neurologist, which we had looked forward to, but which was less than pleasant.
I won’t bore you with the details of the visit, but I want to share with you how I had to advocate for hubby. One of his doctors didn’t hear him when he tried to speak to her. This happened three times during the visit!
He does speak softly, and he has difficulty finding the words he wants to say many times, so it is not unusual to have to wait as he searches for the correct words. One does have to WANT to hear him and be patient until he can articulate his thoughts.
One of his doctors seemed to not hear him. So, when she paused to breathe, I said, “Carlton wants to say something.” At that point, all eyes were on him as he worked to communicate. After the first occasion, I hoped I wouldn’t have to do it again. But in her effort to educate us about Parkinson’s Disease, she ran over his efforts to communicate twice more, and each time I had to insert a comment to turn our attention to the patient, my husband, who was trying desperately to communicate. The doctor’s attitude toward us felt adversarial instead of supportive.
This visit was troubling, and perhaps we have chosen the wrong neurologist for us. We will go back in 4 weeks and attempt to come to an understanding and common goal – managing hubby’s Parkinson’s Disease as much as possible.
That night, as I put hubby into bed, when I said I was sorry the doctor’s appointment had become so contentious, he thanked me for advocating for him. This is high praise from him. I was surprised that he articulated his feeling about the visit, but I am glad he realizes that I am in his corner. I am his best advocate. I have his best interest at heart, and I will fight to be sure he is heard, preserving his dignity and his voice.
Listening takes time. And taking time with someone conveys to them that they are important. That they matter. Sometimes we forget that there are those who just want to be heard. They want to feel that they have value and that their opinions are important. We can listen and we can be sure healthcare professionals listen to those we care for. We can be their advocate.