Can A Caregiver Be A Germaphobe?

I will do, and pretty much have done, everything possible to keep my 93-year-old dad happy and healthy.  Those of you who are the family caregiver can probably rattle off a list of things you never thought you would do; but when the time comes you step up, shut up and get it done.  This should be the caregivers’ creed: step up, shut up, get it done.

Well the flu is traveling the halls of my dad’s assisted living community and sure enough he caught it.  For my dad a cold is synonymous with pneumonia.  The germs bypass sore throat, sniffles and runny nose.  They go right to gunkie (I don’t think this is a medical term.  It may not even be a word.  But, you get the point.) cough, projectile sneezing, shortness of breadth, ashen coloration and poor sleep, which immediately diminish his cognitive abilities causing a dazed look to take over his once alert face.

Don’t get worried.  With care from an amazing medical team, a round of strong antibiotics, cough syrup, and the use of the miracle nebulizer 3x’s a day to help him breath, he’s back to his old self.

I am thrilled he’s healthy again!  For his sake and mine.  You see…I’m a bit of a germaphobe.  Since becoming responsible for my dad, I’ve turned into a Purell carrying, hand washing, disinfecting wipe, antibacterial loving type of gal.  I think being a germaphobe comes with being a caregiver, since caring means doing whatever possible to keep germs away.

During the month it took him to recuperate, I had to check my germaphobic tendencies at the door and walk into his room knowing a million tiny germs were flying around just waiting to take me down.  I tried to get him to sneeze into his elbow, sleeve or a tissue, but each sneeze seemed to come faster than he could react.  I washed and sanitized the mouthpiece to his nebulizer three times a day.  I picked up tissues.  I gave up, stepped up, shut up and got the job done.  Goodbye and good riddance pneumonia of 2014.


Photo Credit: iStock

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