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The Hardest People to Care For

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is that quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow'" ~Mary Anne Radmacher~
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is that quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow'”
~Mary Anne Radmacher~

Are you one of them? A professional caregiver; nurse, police officer, paramedic counselor, doctor, mortician, social worker., firefighter, soldier..???

If you fall anywhere in that professional-soup, you are likely one of the most difficult individuals to care for .

After a trying week and anxiety that has registered off the scale and into the stratosphere, I think I may finally be coming back to the land of the living.

I’ve had a couple of friends offer me the equivalent of a pat on the back and kick in the ass. Not really what I needed when dealing with trauma of the ugliest kind, and top of my own personal issues.

What I did not need was a ‘Lol’, or a, “Yah, but you’ve felt like that before”, or a, “You always land on your feet.”

What I needed turned out to be a  blessing that came out of the blue; another human being who knows what it’s like to see the things that I see, and yet maintain a professional demeanor and carry on with life when what you really want to do is vomit, curl up in a ball, and have someone rock you like a baby.

Caregivers and those of us who deal with human mortality on a daily basis are the hardest people to care for.  We can recognize patronizing bullshit a mile away, and smell apathy like a hound smells a panicked raccoon. We recognize personal authenticity and we know when someone could care less. We’re also too worn out to call you on your bullshit most of the time, so you’re safe.

We are the most difficult people to care for, because we know all the theory, and suck at self-care practice. We also are the most loyal friends. It was my best pal of over 25 years who listened, and said just the right things. She didn’t try to make it better or lessen the trauma. It was another pal who recognized my despair in a well-timed-once-a-year-email response who surprised me the most. Although we haven’t seen one another in over a decade, he too knows what it’s like to be woken by nightmares and have your day interrupted by unwelcome thoughts and images.

You already know to avoid your half-assed friends and lovers, but if you need reminding, just try reaching out to those folks when you really need support. They will teach you all you need to know about who is important and who is not.

If you are one of us, ‘the hardest people to care for’, I urge you to seek the support you need. It may be reaping the benefits of a decent EAP program or even as simple as a coffee with your truly good friends and the  colleagues who share the same joy and pain of working with the underbelly of what it means to be human.

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Christmas Is For Firemen

firemanhotDear Santa,

Andshelaughs would like a fireman for Christmas…

Yah, I hope I find a buff-eager fireman under my tree this year, but what can I say, I’m a dreamer.

Last night I said good-bye to some very dear friends, and big, ole’ tough me cried myself to sleep. I felt so homesick for them, I just rolled out of bed now. The laundry can wait.  I’m busy moping.

So, I finally get out of bed this morning, pour a good dose of Jimmy Buffet into the speakers and turn the coffee pot on, all the while dressed in a t-shirt and a bracelet. Don’t try to picture it, you’ll hurt your eyes.

My hair is long now because I’m trying to grow it long enough to pull back in a practical something or other while on the sailboat this winter. That means instead of being short and wild, it’s long and wild.  What remains of my mascara after scrubbing my face last night has made itself more comfortable in the hollows of the bags of my eyes, and somehow I’ve managed one sock.

It’s morning. My daily nemesis. Describing me as, ‘Not a morning person’ is like saying the Dali Lama is sorta spiritual. I suck at mornings. More importantly, I’m ok with it.

I’ve turned on the coffee pot, yawned, and have a copy of the New Yorker in my hand featuring a story about bull-riding. I love bull-riding. And boxing. Those sports fascinate me. So, Ms. bawling mess homesick for her friends is in the kitchen looking, well, homeless, and reading about bull-riding when the fire alarm goes off. Not my smoke alarm, the one wired into the 12 units of homes that I live in.

Immediately, I shriek, “Oh Golly!”. Ok, I do not shriek, “Oh Golly”, but if I’m ever going to be ‘Freshly Pressed’ on WordPress I have to stop using the f-word. So, use your imagination. I say, “Oh…..k!”

I don’t panic because first of all, it’s before noon and I just don’t panic before noon. That’s way too much effort. I already know what’s happening. It’s fire alarm testing day.

Whenever I am home on a Friday it’s freaking-fire-alarm-testing day. I know that within moments, my Christmas wish is going to be almost true. There will be firemen in my house.

You have never seen a chubby middle-aged blonde woman move so quickly!

…and that’s how it happened Santa, honestly.