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Dear Caregivers, I Took You for Granted

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I grew up in and out of the hospital. It was normal to have my caregivers bring me something to eat or drink only for me to not want it. It was normal to need help with getting dressed and getting showered.

I now realize I took you for granted.

When I moved out on my own and started university I quickly realized that having nurses that were friends and spending my extra money on new treatments and medical devices was not normal.

Their mothers and fathers did not drop everything to save their child’s life day after day. You did more than you bargained for.

My fridge is fully stalked with all sorts of clear liquids: Gatorade, apple juice, and filtered water take up the bottom shelf. But walking the two feet that it takes to get a sip is exhausting. All I want is a mom to swoop in and hand me a glass with a straw as I attempt to stay hydrated.

Someone who knows when to let me be to heal and grieve on my own, and when to lay with me. My parents could anticipate my needs before they happened.

A few years ago, I was too sick to walk down the stairs from my bedroom to the dining room for Easter dinner. My dad told me I wasn’t allowed to spend Easter alone. After feeling defeated and angry I heard a knock on my door. My dad had moved a collapsible camping table into the hallway outside my room topped with a large feast.

So often people with profound health needs or disabilities cannot get to the table but it is the extraordinary caregivers that move a table up a flight of stairs so that everyone has a seat at the table.

There are those of you who try so hard to be those people but it is exhausting. It is draining to teach you how to react to someone being sick. It is embarrassing to show the less than glamorous parts of my diseases. But thank you for trying.

The caregivers are the unseen heroes who keep their sick friends and family comfortable and alive. Thank you for loving us so well. Thank you for the selfless act of loving us when we are at our worst. We love you.

Getty Image by Jupiterimages

Originally published: February 28, 2018
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