Care And Pretend

I am drowning in care and caring.

Why is it that “care,” the essence of a compassionate and deep human emotion, has been reduced to an empty word used in all kinds of transactional exchanges?

Health care, medical care, customer care, intensive care, custodial care, caregiver/caretaker – really how come these two words mean the same in spite of the fact that someone gives and someone “takes” here?…And the list goes on.

It’s a fact that the last few months have changed my life. It has nothing to do with caring; yet it has everything to do with “care.” Spending so much time in hospitals, rehab centers, doctors’ offices, calls to insurance companies, medical suppliers, pharmacies, surrounded by care-givers and health care “professionals.” And all this time, my sense and sensibility assaulted by all kinds of uncaring acts – all offered in the context and pretext of caring.

Physicians who avoid eye contact and look bored to tears when your loved one’s life is hanging from a thread – their iPhone sliding out of the white coat pocket to see the text messages while you are waiting desperately for hope, some thread of the invisible yarn to living. Nurses who leave the hardest non-medical tasks to nursing aides just because it is considered beneath them to do the “dirty” work. Social workers who don’t know the first thing about sensitivity and can be worse than lawyers (no offense to my ilk) and psychologists who try to analyze your mother in determining your mental state while  you are faced with a life changing paraplegia.

Rehabilitation – a word that to me, the executive and business oriented mind only meant reform of some kind until a few months ago – has now taken a whole new dimension for me. Nothing but a big, counterfeit and pretentiously “happy” concentration camp where the goal is “re-entry” and adjustment to daily life. No time to absorb the impact of what has happened, no space to think, mourn, reflect – just a cogwheel that keeps on going while you are violently drawn into your inevitable and everlasting acceptance of the change.

Chirpy and smiling recreational therapists – had no clue what that professional classification meant until recently – who come in with these bizarre ideas yanking you out of bed to force you to have “fun” in this new way of living for you – “why not think of taking up hand-biking?” Absurdity galore in an environment where pain, disease and disability float in the air with comments such as: “oh, dear…you were sent to the intensive care unit and then two more patients followed suit. You are such a trend-setter!..”

Maybe someone, somewhere might have found the comment cute – an unfortunate attempt to cheering my husband up. But, come on – who on earth would come up with such a comment? While I can see the philosophy of rehabilitation on canada pharmacy and the need to adjustment and re-training and physical therapy, I feel sick every time I think of the weeks he spent  at the rehab center.

We live in a society where politeness has been disguised as pretending. And within the professional trait of “caring” we are often taught to pretend since we don’t really care. But while some liars are better than others, pretending in most cases does not cut it. Especially when it’s supposed to be your choice of a job miserably performed.

Sometimes I think it’s just me. I am not a doctor – even though I have spent more than half of my life with one – and now he/my husband doctor is the one afflicted. And I have to be the strong one, the “care” giver, the one who deals with so many details of the aspect of care. I care – moved, touched, wounded, affected, hurt – I care. But caring has become a business, a fee for service type of transaction where you pay and in exchange you get – not an act, not a feeling, just the business of care-giving.

Maybe it’s just the gray matter after all. Altruism is a matter of neuroanatomy, with the brains of altruistic types having more “gray matter” in a region of the brain known as the temporoparietal junction.

Maybe, just maybe…those who chose the profession of care-giving should look into that. And, maybe those of us who simply care without being professionals at it – should speak up -and sometimes words are all you have on top of the tears…


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