Good, Better, or Best

decision-making-150x150As caregivers, we have many decisions to make in behalf of our loved one’s best interests. The responsibility weighs heavily as we ponder not only what is good, but what is best. How do we know if it’s the best choice? Sometimes we don’t even realize we have choices. For example, it never occurred to me that I could transfer Mark from one hospital to another without him being released. I admit I was young and inexperienced, however, when I was told I had the choice, I didn’t take the decision or the responsibility lightly. I knew I needed to move Mark closer to home because the one hour drive each way was difficult to make daily. My brothers were taking turns on weeknights to stay with Mark so I could go home to be with the kids. It was hard to be away from Mark when I was home and hard to be away from the kids when I was at the hospital. No matter where I was, sixty miles seemed too far away under such crisis.

I had toured three hospitals before choosing Western Rehab, which was close to our Sandy, UT home, but more importantly, they specialized in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). I was confident that Western Rehab was the best place for Mark. After I had made the decision, Mark got a terrible a liver infection, which almost took his life. The doctor couldn’t commit to a release date because it felt it was best for Mark to complete the powerful intravenous antibiotic for at least two weeks and make certain no other setbacks occurred. With each passing day that Mark improved, I became increasingly worried and anxious that Western Rehab would fill up all their beds and we’d lose or have to postpone the opportunity to move there. They only had two beds available when I checked them out.

When the doctor told me I could take Mark out of the hospital without his permission, I checked with Western Rehab to make sure they had room for him. Even though I believed this was the best place for Mark and I was anxious for the move, I also knew McKay-Dee Hospital had very competent and skill doctors and nurses. It was harder than I thought it would be to leave the hospital that literally saved Mark’s life at least twice. My appreciation for doctors and nurses along with the security of a hospital family that had seen me through some very worrisome times made it difficult to leave. However, having Mark so far away from home was even harder. I also had faith that a Rehab hospital which specialized in TBI would be a more positive atmosphere, which I believed would help him come out of his coma. These reasons outweighed my reasons to stay. It was difficult taking a new path because I didn’t know for sure where it would lead, but I also knew I couldn’t let the fear of the unknown stop me. I had to give up some good things in order to choose others that were better or best.

imagesThree things to consider when choosing between good, better and best:

  • Is it an emotional or logical choice? If it is both, it is best.
  • What are the consequences? What could go wrong and how can you protect against it?
  • Look at the big picture. Does it have long term benefits or just short term?

As Laura Nordfelt stated in her comment, “We can accomplish more than we realize when our loved ones need and depend on us. We can do things we never imagined.” I would add and make difficult choices.

What steps have you taken in deciding whether you have made a good, better or best choice? Have you ever had a choice and not realized it?

Related Article: Five Steps to Making Good Decisions

 

 

Life Does Not Have to be Perfect

Three tips from Barbara Larsen’s Story, Joyce, an Angel in Our Home

I see a girl not a condition1. Feelings of failure are normal. I have known Barbara Larsen for many years. She is a neighbor and dear friend. I never knew she felt like a failure nor did I ever think of her this way. I only saw the kind, loving sister she is. I am grateful for her honesty and it helped me realize that sometimes we just expect too much of ourselves.

2. Frustration is common. It’s understandable and okay as long as it’s dealt with in a positive way. Find outside help from family, friends, church or other organizations. Share the responsibilities and the blessings that come with it. Taking a break is necessary for overcoming frustration.

3. Care Centers can be the best solution. Barbara said, “It’s okay, if it comes to a point you can no longer take care of your loved one in your home. Let the professionals do it. There came a time when I knew others could take better care of Joyce than I could. It was difficult to let her go, but we still loved and supported her at the care center even though it was hard to watch her slowly leave us.”

I really appreciated the stories shared this month by three guest authors of a mother, grandmothers and a sister. Since it is the month we celebrate Mother’s and Memorial Day I thought these three stories would be a perfect match for this month. I learned a lot from each one and based the Tuesday Tips this month on their stories. Each caregiver’s loved one has passed into a better place where health is no longer an issue. Each guest author stated that caregiving was a lot harder than they thought it would be and needed to seek help from others. I echo this feeling and add, it’s a good thing we don’t realize how hard it will be or we might not be so willing. I was impressed that each one voiced the love, personal growth and appreciation for the opportunity to give care even though or possibly because it was the hardest thing they’d ever done.

Life doesn't have to be perfectThese three stories helped me realized how similar caregiving is to raising children. Not only do they have like responsibilities, but when you’re in the middle of doing it—it seems like it will never end. However, it eventually does. Just like our children grow and leave our homes—our loved ones move on and return to their heavenly home. The responsibility does end and when it does there are things we will miss. Dianne, Julie and Barbara’s stories prompted us to appreciate the time we have and to make the best of our circumstances. Hopefully, in the end we won’t have regrets and we will be at peace, realizing we did our best.

I appreciated the honesty of each one as they expressed their overwhelming feelings and frustration at times. Thank you for reminding us that life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful and neither do we.