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On Caregiving + One Clarification on my Showering Habits

After writing and publishing The Sand Girl Learns Catharsis Through Showering, plus another day's time to think on it, I want to clarify that I, though I hate showers--that sudden splash in the face, back, or chest, shoulders and legs--I don't mind slipping into a nice hot tub of water. Think of me as that frog you boiled once. I don't mind the heat turned up after toeing gently into a bath and soaking. Unless, of course, some wanker runs by and splashes me in the face then dashes back out. Thankfully, that hasn't yet happened in all the years I've been bathing but you just never know. Do you. No. You don't.



Okay, now that the subject of bathing versus showering has been settled, on to more serious business like caregiving.

Yesterday, I was thinking about how I have not only been a caregiver to my mom and to Bob but to others and other things, as well.

When I was still a kid fresh freed from my parent's house and into my first apartment, I dragged home a stray human who had no home. I don't remember details like where we met or why she had no home but within a few hours, more of her homeless friends joined her.

This lasted a few days with me feeding them and letting them use the facilities. Plus, I realized they were not as needy as I first thought. So, outside they went, food and water bowls to follow. However, unlike a cat or dog, humans don't readily drink or eat out of bowls on the ground so, the next morning when I called for them and they didn't come running, I assumed they found other accommodations. It is a well known fact among people who know me that I am better with animals than human beings. I talk to my dog Joey and he answers. Yes. He does.

Joey telling me he needs attention now. Or food.

Fast forward to the 1990s when I started taking in sick and injured wildlife, mostly birds, through an outfit called For the Birds Wildlife Rehabilitation. I searched for them on the internet but couldn't find them. At the time, they used to work closely with Liberty Wildlife, which I did find.

Anyway, with For the Birds, any person who wanted to offer wildlife care services under their authority, would receive their training. Caring for a bird with a broken wing is a lot different than showering a human being.

For the Birds put me through what I call triage training. We learned emergency medical assistance. We learned the signs of shock. If there's blood, it's bad. If there's not, it's better. But whenever we get a sick or injured animals into us, we needed first to stabilize, then assess, then treat.

The success rate for wildlife survival is low. If you can walk over and pick up a bird, something is definitely wrong with it. Same with any wild animal but often we don't just pick up a sick badger and access, lest we get our hand chewed off in the process.

We need to think before handling any wild animal--bird or otherwise--because birds, as you well know, come in all sizes. From hummingbird size to condor size and with the increase in body size comes an increase in snapping bird beak size, as well. Here's a trick. Go up to a condor and put your finger out in front of its face. See what happens.

Okay, don't do that. Please.

So, For the Birds taught me emergency medical assessment. With that assessment came the treatment. In treatment we learned that if an animal is actively bleeding to locate the bleed and stop it, if possible. We leaned to assess whether an animal had an infection, a bad case of parasites, or whether it was suffering from dehydration. In Phoenix, we got a lot of dehydrated creatures called in for help. Lots of newborn creatures too from either mothers who abandoned them or mothers who were killed after they recently were born.

We learned how to restrain properly. We learned how to determine which medicines might be best for the animal and then to administer the meds. We learned how to give intramuscular (IM) and subcutaneous (SubQ) injections. We learned how to suture a superficial tear. We practiced these things on chicken parts still with skin attached from the meat department. We learned how to set a broken wing or leg.

Okay. You may be thinking, "Why is she telling us all this about wildlife rehab?" Well, as a rehabber, the learning I got from handling and treating wildlife has segued nicely to the handling and care I now do for humans. Basically, I got a crash course in first aid and nursing, and mini-courses in post-op and pharmaceuticals. It has turned out to be invaluable in my dealings with both Mom and Bob.

So, what does it all mean, Susan? I have no idea.

All I know is that God seems to have prepared me for all this from way back. Possibly from day one? God's a planner, you see. As am I. That's why we get along so well.

Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

God bless you all.

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1 commento

Jo szcz
Jo szcz
10 apr

I think I'll pass on the "put your hand in front of a condor" thing LOL But, some valuable info is always given in your caregiver blogs. THANKS!!😍

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