Caregivers receive more than they give

Edgar's picture

By Richard P. Holm, MD

It was a number of years ago and I was working in the emergency room when a severely compromised 20-year-old woman with cerebral palsy came in battling a lung infection. She was moderately mentally handicapped and had muscle spasticity of all her muscles, which hampered her ability to cough and clean out her lungs. This was not her first time with pneumonia, and it wouldn’t be her last.

What was most remarkable about her situation was the love and support she had from her entire family, not just mom and dad. Her three siblings were also part of this wonderful caregiving team. They joked with her, encouraged her, reassured her, and loved her. It was beautiful to see. The story turns sad as eventually, months later, the patient succumbed to an infection despite aggressive treatment. However, the compassion and joy I saw that day, like rays of light emanating out of her caregivers, left me happy inside.


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