The Fearless Caregiver


Gary Barg - Editor-in-chief Seeking Skyhooks


The recent centennial anniversary of both the Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of America got me thinking of the well-known but extraordinarily appropriate motto for these two organizations: Be Prepared.  It is in this spirit I would like to advise you that I am not going to waste your time making obvious declarations regarding the appropriateness of the motto for any family caregiver. Of course, preparation is the key to successful caregiving.

No, I was thinking back many decades ago to the first “Jamboree” that I attended as a fledgling Boy Scout. It was at a large campground in South Miami with thousands of my fellow scouts attending.  I remember vividly the pride I felt as my scout leader sent me on an important mission (my first mission!) that would absolutely ensure the success of our outing. I was to walk around to the other campsites and ask if anyone had a spare skyhook.  Well, off I went, safe in the knowledge that the entire success of the weekend rested on my acquiring this elusive skyhooky thing.

Very quickly, things turned from bad to worse, as I spun from campground to campground, asking my question. The responses I received ranged from confusion to outright laughter and derision.  I felt as if I were on one of those fairground rides, spinning fast enough to ensure that everything in front of you was reduced to a blur, making you dizzy and disoriented; yet there was no way to make it stop until the ride ended. Eventually, someone took pity on me and handed me back to my troop leader who finally explained that there was no such thing as a skyhook.

The only other times in my life that I ever felt so disoriented, alone and entirely unprepared has been dealing with my loved ones’ healthcare emergencies.  Gramp had passed out and the questions were coming fast and furious from the medical professionals dressed in scrubs who were working at the neighborhood hospital emergency room that night. “What medicines is he on?” “Has this happened before?” “Who is his primary physician?” “What medical conditions does he have?”  Although I could address some of the questions, my fear and confusion harkened back to the skyhook incident.  I didn’t know the things I should have known in order to protect my loved one. 

“Be Prepared.” Absolutely. But having the right answers and information at hand when needed will possibly help save your loved ones’ lives. And you won’t spend any of your valuable time seeking mythical skyhooks, either.


  Gary Barg
Today's Caregiver magazine
Wednesday March 28, 2012
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