FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN /
On The Caregiver Beat
I just dropped off my dog, Morris, at the vet’s
so they can put a scope down his throat and find out
why he is having breathing issues. Any of you who
know about my relationship with my constant
companion will understand that this is a shaky
moment for me, at best. As I was driving away
from the vet’s office, I kept reviewing in my mind:
“Did I ask enough questions? Did I tell them enough
about his symptoms? Did I let them know how much
Morris means to us?” This is certainly a common
occurrence for any human or animal caregiver.
While in the car, I was listening to a report on
WLRN, a local radio station. Since October is
National Breast Cancer month, they have been
offering advice for people living with breast cancer
and their loved ones all month long. Today was
an especially poignant report. Kelley Mitchell, a
WLRN-Miami Herald reporter, was talking about her
own breast cancer diagnosis on Christmas Eve, 2002,
when she was a reporter for the local ABC affiliate.
This was well known to me as I have always really
liked Kelley and appreciated her work. Kelley talked
about her decision to go public and do reports on
her cancer as she was going through treatment.
She said (and I paraphrase), It was easier for
Kelley the Reporter to get the information I needed
about my cancer than it was for Kelley the Patient. I
know my reporting on my cancer helped a lot of
people in the community, but it also helped me. Bingo.
Kelley to the rescue.
I think by becoming family
caregiver/investigative reporters, we can obtain the
best information for ourselves and our loved ones—as
factually, directly and unemotionally as possible.
Put your reporter’s fedora on and get the
information you need by using the reporters’ five
W’s: Who, What, Where, When and Why? Who
should be involved in my loved one’s care at this
very moment? What is the truth about the
situation and what are my options?
Where can I get the best results? When
are we supposed to see results, see the doctor, get
the insurance approval? And Why?
(sprinkle this question liberally).
Now, if only there was a Pulitzer’s prize for
being a family caregiver/investigative reporter.