A to Z Challenge: Letter G for Guilt

“Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving.” Erma Bombeck

There is a tremendous burden of responsibility that we take on when we become a caretaker. Sometimes it can mean the difference between life and death for those we care for. But we are human and mistakes happen. If you are a caretaker you have signed up for big time guilt in so many areas that you can’t even imagine.

Almost all dependent persons, those who are ill, or disabled, or elderly take medication of some sort. I have a nursing nightmare, which comes from a similar real life event, of being responsible for giving medication to dozens of patients without time to do it. Errors of giving the wrong medication or not giving a med on time are so common in the medical world that whole systems have been developed to prevent them.

No chance I’m going to make a mistake here, right?

At present, I only have one person (the husband) who needs help with his medication so we haven’t had nightmare material lately, but I have forgotten at times. There are also many other kinds of errors that can devastate us. Saying the wrong thing, giving the wrong information, errors in judgment, errors in attentiveness. I hear of it happening all the time in the online support groups that I frequent.

I want to say something to those of you who truly care about “your person”. You probably are going to do something that you consider an error. Do the best you can to avoid making mistakes but when they happen, forgive yourself and learn whatever you can from them. Continue as best you can. My way of doing this is to pray for those in my care. I ask God to protect them and to help me know what to pay attention to and when to listen. I ask him to give me the necessary skills, and help when I need it. He does this.

By being willing to be a caretaker you are giving “your person” a gift. Maybe you are making it possible for them to be in their home rather than an institution. Maybe you are saving them great expense. Maybe you are providing a sense of family, of belonging. Maybe you are giving them something that money can’t buy. Don’t let the fear of making errors keep you from giving something precious and needed.

Talk (write) to me.

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