Dudes Taking Care of Dudes
A week before Christmas, a friend of a friend was hit by a car as he walked his dog. This guy, I’ll call him John, was immediately paralyzed from the chest down. Just that quick, John’s life changed dramatically. Why? Chances are, the 20 something student who hit him was distracted by her phone. Friends, when you’re driving, please, PLEASE put the damned phone down!
My friend asked if I would visit John, which, of course, I’m happy to do. John is a young guy and currently living through some of the biggest life changes any of us can imagine. Every recovery, every individual is unique, so I’m not sure how I can help John, but if I can? Hey, I’m here.
We hung out with John and his girlfriend for over an hour. This hour happened to be the time that shift change occurred. The nursing staff did a great job with introducing themselves, stating their name and title, introducing the techs, all done precisely how it would help a patient. Yet, the thing I noticed beyond that was this: all of his caregivers, with the exception of one tech, were dudes. Young dudes, too.
About the only disability that requires more accommodation than blindness is, of course, quadriplegia. I’ve been on total care for a short time. There was a month after my initial trauma when I couldn’t breathe on my own, much less feed myself or wipe my own ass. When you give up all control to caregivers, that’s a sacred relationship. No adult wants to have to rely on another to take care of basic human needs.
There is nothing any of us can do to change the past for John. Yet, I love that the rehab center where he is now recovering has taken such a thoughtful approach to nurse staffing. Having a male take care of another male may, in some small way, make the adaptation into this new world a little easier on John. I hope so.