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More on being the Caregiver: III

by Sy OgulnickJune 2016

I have not written about “leadership and power” in recent papers due to my profound experience of what it means to being totally vulnerable and also, and of more importance, the role of the care giver to my very existence. Gratefully, I announce that I am doing very well with my rehabilitation. In many respects I am better than before the operation. Not as strong, but slowly returning to excellent physical condition.

So even as I have written of my recent challenges and experiences of what it means to be vulnerable, and the absolute importance of the care giver to the fully vulnerable, in my mind and heart I  was not unaware of leadership and power. Even at my most vulnerable I was aware of my responsibility (power) relative to most of my care givers. This did not exist with my most important care giver (Lenette) and I was totally accessible to her attention and time. For me to witness her unconditional care of me is to know love.

This was not the case with the nurses and doctors that cared for me. With each of them I made it my responsibility to be as grateful and accommodating as I could consciously be. I wanted each to know how appreciative and accessible I am to them.  Nothing any asked of me was resisted, but acknowledged and appreciated to the fullest extent possible. I accepted as my responsibility the creation of the best possible relationship between us.

And this paper touches on this, perhaps, in an obtuse way. As a patient I intended to survive and took it as my responsibility to have the best possible relationship with each individual care giver. I certainly was aware of my helplessness and therefore being fully vulnerable was obvious to me. No fight against any, but full compliance and appreciation, if even to being awakened to take a pill or extract blood. They were there for me and I wanted each to know my appreciation of who they are and what they do.

That some may look upon their work as a job to do with just another patient I took it upon myself to connect to them in as personal and accepting way as I am able to do. Maybe I struck out with a few, but I failed with very few. Who amongst us does not need the experience of being appreciated and respected?

Not too surprisingly the key to significant relationships, and how significant the relationship between those that are vulnerable and those that are car givers, has to be the recognition of expectations and how expectations are dealt with. If anything needs to be brought into the open and used as the “meat” of dialogue it has to be expectations people have of each other. But sadly, this is too rare an experience for most.

Finally, and appropriate to this paper, in certain situations expectations ought not to exist. In relationships between the fully vulnerable and the care giver this is the case I attempt to make. In all other situations and relationships (between parent/child, teacher/student, couples, boss to employee, etc.) expectations not only exist, they are impossible to avoid and are like sand grains on a beach. Interestingly, relationships are built on unexpressed expectations and must ultimately be the bridge that does connect us.  Hopefully I will be able to share the material necessary to building that bridge.  Sy

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