The Difference in Caring About And Caring For
A lightbulb moment was had in a professional development session that I was in today. While the discussion surrounding was providing care and life planning around specific disease groups, this is so applicable to life as an asthmatic or a person with chronic illness.
Firstly, we need to take a look at what the difference even is:
Caring about someone can be characterized as follows:
- Having affection & self-esteem for someone or something.
- Having a repository of knowledge about a subject matter. Like all those loved ones who know more than doctors, or at least as much.
- Lifetime commitment. Those that are in it for the long haul. Think about all the people that are committed to you or your asthma.
- Providers that provide day to day care
- Providing material or financial support
- Those that advocate for support.
One person can need both
We have different people and different roles in all of our relationships and like many of you, I have been on both spectrums of being cared for and taking care of. Many of us wear a hat of both the roles at the same time. If you have been following along with my posts, you may know that I have had an interesting road building my relationship with my primary respirologist and finally figured how to evaluate this relationship. It’s like a huge lightbulb finally went off.
We have different people in our neighborhood and not everyone needs to share the same role. It is possible that I have wanted more out my patient-physician relationship than was probably realistic. What is the actual role that I need them to take on? I needed to do a bit of soul searching on this one. I need them to be a partner in the repository of knowledge of my severe asthma and my care. I and my primary caregiver will probably hold the “repository" of knowledge about me, however I need my specialists to be the repository of knowledge on my disease, but we need to work together symbiotically. I think the lines get a bit blurred here, I need there to be some amount of empathy or need to feel valued. But really, I think there are things I expect out of that relationship that may fall outside the scope that I need to use other people in my care team for. In some cases, they may act as a sounding board or even providing emotional support. In some circumstances, this may be better suited for a support group, a therapy session or even a night out with friends. I need to come the terms that my doctor will provide guidance on treatment options and care but some of the needs that I think I have been seeking out of that relationship, I need to transfer elsewhere. Easy discovery but potentially more difficult to implement.
I am now on to creating a plan for those people in my care team or even my support team, so they can play different roles. I am even analyzing how I can reframe my questions or even needs from that relationship. Like most relationships, I think this is one that is ever-evolving especially during periods of remission or exacerbation or even identifying new normals. Has anyone else experiences this, what are your tips or best practices?
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