We had a bad auto crash in the family with severe injuries. Click here if you want to read about it. I had to step up and I did. (That is not a surprise. We do what needs to be done. Always.)
I am not a natural caretaker. I would describe me as a Sheldon Cooper (Big Bang Theory) type of caretaker. I pat you on the shoulder and say “there, there” and give you a hot beverage. That’s my preferred modus operandi. I don’t kiss boo-boos. Not even on a cat.
Recently I described myself as an “I’ll make soup but don’t make me do anything that involves body fluids” person. I don’t have a problem cleaning the cat litter box but when it comes to people, yikes! Yet we do what needs to be done.
I have a lot of respect for those folks who are the first in the hospital when it isn’t their firstborn and follow up with all sorts of appropriate things. I’m in the group that is flailing around wondering what I should do. Do they want company? Are they too ill? Gifts? Always hesitating just a bit in hopes that a miracle will happen and they will be their normal healthy self the next day. That doesn’t happen.
Another friend recently talked about “relational” people versus “transactional” people. I am definitely the latter. When I go in to the hospital, business first. I throw away the trash on the tray and organize mail from small to large envelopes. Magazines too. Then I put away the clean clothes I brought and take out the dirty. If I remember I’ll ask the person how they are doing (and ask if they need a hot beverage). Always the business first. I have a mission to accomplish and that fuels me.
Friends are updated on what they need to know. I’ll issue edicts if necessary. It’s the Mother Superior training I got in Catholic school.
Relational people are those caring people who fuss with the person and make them feel better emotionally. They also forget to take the dirty clothes so the transactional people have to clean up. (That’s my version anyway.)
Truth is you need both kinds.
My recent take-away is that I’m not going to change. I will continue to be the bossy Mother Superior that likes things taken care of so those with people skills can focus on their tasks. It takes a village for sure and that village better have all kinds of people.
NOTE: For those following my saga, my sister-in-law is in a rehabilitation facility relearning skills. She’s coming along, just slowly.