NASCAR driver—must be able to beat all other drivers in the hospital parking garage to the last handicapped parking spot. Why doesn’t a hospital, by definition, create more handicapped spots? I mean really!
Personal chef—microwaving leftover skills a must; defrosting skills helpful—especially understanding the use of the microwave’s defrost function and being able to operate it without assistance.
Patient companion—willingness to sit in an easy chair and watch reruns of Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts without getting frustrated over your own laundry piling up.
Ambassador/diplomat—talent to reestablish emotional calm when service providers try to force the issue of paperless billing, auto-deposit, and online bill-pay.
Psychologist—the ability to guess at what’s behind a loved-one’s question without using Freud’s theories to dig deep and place the blame squarely on one’s parents (counterproductive when dealing with one’s parents).
Translator—ability to take gleaned understanding at the meaning behind the response and explain it to other loved ones, service providers, and medical team.
Legal advisor—uncanny capacity to comprehend legal and medical mumbo-jumbo and translate it into legitimate English—this is a must. Also, a practiced hand at witnessing and signing legal and medical forms.
Banker—aptitude to understand and explain the latest round of hieroglyphics generated by the mega-bank’s computer system; willingness to do same every single time a new report comes in snail mail.
Electronics technician—must possess the skill for resetting all digital clocks on radios, appliances, and the VCR whenever the power blips; also must know everything about computers and satellite TV boxes—and be able to extrapolate exactly how the loved one got to this particular locked-up screen—again!
Medic—must be ready to kiss boo-boos and make them better. Boo-boos include insect bites, stubbed toes, mystery bruises, and test-prick wounds.
Nurse’s aide—required to produce or generate test-prick wounds; must be practiced and convincing at the mantra, “This won’t hurt at all.”
Excel spreadsheet guru—must possess the capacity to rig up makeshift fax system, log (and type accurately) test-prick results, and transmit generated spreadsheet via fax to medical team weekly.
Patient advocate—has the talents of understanding the emotionally charged reactions to diagnoses and reminding the medical team that patient is a person, not a series of test results.
Make-it-all-better specialist—a calming, soothing, understanding, listening attitude is essential!
© 2011, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: firstname.lastname@example.org