HOW TO GUIDEBOOK: Good
and easy patient.
Why? Because we all know that there is definitely a way to be a bad patient. And since we love our caretakers so dearly and want to make things easy (ahem, easier) for them, we would like to strive to be good little patients, right? Right.
Now, I could go into all of the ways to be a bad patient, but we can all figure that out in a few quick adjectives (whiner, self-centered, demanding…), and that’s really not the point of this guidebook, so we shall skip that section. If you need to reference it at any point turn to page eight and read the passage titled ‘Shel Silverstein’s Sick‘. Good. Now that that is covered, let’s get to the expected disciplines of a good patient:
- Don’t complain. Instead, thank your caretakers! Often! Imagine it or not, our caretakers do know that we hurt. We’ve told them enough, after all. Yes, tell your caretaker when something is wrong, but try not to continue to pester them about it over and over again, especially when there isn’t anything they can do to help. And most of all, don’t complain about them. They’re doing their best to help!
- Give your caretaker permission to take care of themselves. Give them permission to take a break from taking care of you. Maybe this means asking someone else to come and take care of your for an afternoon. They need time to recuperate, too. Maybe we can’t take a break from our sickness, but they are fighting their own battle in watching us through this, and they can take a break. Let them! They sometimes need us to tell them to so that they don’t feel guilty about it.
- When you ask for something, try to ask at the same time. Our caretakers want to help us, but sometimes it can be really frustrating if we ask for something every ten minutes. Right? Then they’re frustrated, and we’re frustrated and it just doesn’t work. Instead, do your best to remember it when they are there, instead of yelling for them just when they’ve sat down. (For this point, it may be wise to ask your caretaker which they prefer. I realize it is possible that they prefer to not have to remember it all at once, and may prefer it in smaller chunks.)
- Don’t assume that your caretaker knows what you need. They aren’t God. They can do a lot of guessing, but we can’t get upset with them for not doing exactly what we need if we haven’t asked for it. So ask (NICELY) 😉 .
- Resolve arguments, disagreements, misunderstandings, etc., quickly. I rather think this should be a principle for all of life (Eph 4:26), but especially in a caretaker/patient relationship. Otherwise, well… things will just get worse and it won’t be pleasant for either of you. You already have enough battles to face, you don’t need to be at odds with each other! I can just picture a stony silence as a patient is to upset with their caretaker to ask them to help say, tie their shoes, and so simply leaves them untied resulting it…. well, don’t you think it’s just better to clear things up?
- Swallow your pride about trivial things that aren’t done your way. I had to do this a lot, especially when I first got sick. For example, my mom parts hair differently than I do… and when I can’t do my hair, but she does it for me, it can be highly frustrating. Or when my siblings do my chores for me, but don’t do them to my expectations. I just have to keep my mouth shut and thank them for doing those things. Right? Correct. As difficult as it can be sometimes.
- Let them know when there is something easily remedied that bothers you day after day. I think that this one should be ‘6.2’ instead of ‘7’, but oh well. This follows very closely to my previous point about swallowing our pride. For example, say your caretaker makes you cooked canned salmon everyday for breakfast (just an example 😉 ), and they always add dill seasoning. It seems small and your ignore it and eat what they give you- you’re really not in any position to ask them to change anything. But soon it gets old. Well, the thing is, you are eventually going to lose your patience, and your caretaker is going to have no idea why. Instead of trying to quell your frustration every morning, simply ask for more salt! It only takes once! As long as you do it nicely, there should be no problem! (It may be wise to ask, though, not when they bring you the breakfast, but before they make it, or at some other time of day. It seems less like complaining that way.)
- Submit to your caretaker’s care. I know, I know, this seems a bit obvious, but it is so often easy to overlook. When your caretaker gives you a supplement to take- take it! When your caretaker asks you to do your doctor-prescribed walk (guilty as charged)- do it! It may not be pleasant, but don’t take that out on your caretaker. They only ask us to do those things because they love us and want us to get better. 🙂
There. Initiation complete! Now for the most important part: do you, <enter full name>, commit to striving to be a good and agreeable patient, following the guideline laid out here in this little guidebook?