By Sidney Sheldon
(This is the last article written before he passed away on January 30, 2007)
Perhaps the least appreciated, but for my money, the most important link on the chain in the medical field is the Caregiver.
I was firmly opposed to the idea of a Caregiver. Most of my doctors were for it. Then the unexpected happened. I fell down crossing my living room floor. When I was awakened, I was in the emergency ward at the Eisenhower Medical Center. I found that I had been given three caregivers, one for every eight hours. Since I had trouble standing, it was a foregone conclusion that they would be mine for a long time. They are still with and its been several months.
What is a caregiver? Someone who is trained to assist patients incapacitated in some way. The Caregivers go through a training period and receive a certificate before they can work. I did not like the idea of strangers judging my naked body. In this case, I had nothing to say about it. The Caregivers were with me continually one of them at a time. I could not move without one of them at my side. I must say that I was more and more grateful because every time I tried to walk alone, I fell down. I received a series of services that I had not anticipated. When I woke up in the morning, my Caregiver brushed my teeth, bathed me, dressed me and combed my hair. While this was done efficiently and courteously, there were more personal things that I still objected to, but I had no say in the matter. I could not fault any of them. They were very cooperative and tried to anticipate my needs and serve a vital function. Caregivers are compromised of both sexes. Women take care of men and women and men take care of men and women. No false modesty permitted.
When you are well, of course, you don't need them. But when your body is causing you serious trouble, competent Caregivers are invaluable. Any hospital will refer you to Caregivers. What, I think, most impressed me about them is that they go out of their way looking for ways to be of help. They made the beds and helped around the house. Caregivers are a big step in fighting adversity. My autobiography, THE OTHER SIDE OF ME, is a textbook for succeeding against problems that life sometimes deals us. Life is a tough gig.
My advice, "hang in there."
Mr. Sheldon would have been 90 years old on February 11, 2007.