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The Caregiver's Cairn: Prepare for a Blowout!

Greetings one and all…

Jane

Welcome back to the Caregiver’s Cairn. It’s time to take a deep breath and relax for a bit. We are knee-deep in the midst of summer, and these are far from the lazy days of summer, right? As the southern saying goes, every day is “lippin’ full” with things to do! So, pour a cold drink. Find a cozy chair. And let’s chat for a few minutes. As noted in the last posting, I did a bit of traveling in June. I am certainly not a world traveler, but I do enjoy getting out and about. I love meeting people and listening to their stories. Outside of my ordinary routine, I am more aware of my surroundings and thus more receptive to the lessons life has to offer. Life demands my attention! Driving back from Pueblo several weeks ago, I witnessed the importance of preparing for the unexpected in life—preparing for a blowout. Life grabbed my attention in a dramatic and frightening way.

Driving back to Denver from my presentation in Pueblo on a Saturday afternoon, I was amazed by the amount of traffic on the interstate—bumper to bumper traffic moving along at 80 MPH. About an hour into my drive, I encountered an older model truck moving slower than most. So, I opted to change lanes and pass. Just as I moved into the left lane to pass, I heard a loud BANG and glimpsed a tire flying by the right side of my car, narrowly missing the back panel. I then realized the front tire on the passenger side of the old truck had blown out! This caused the truck to veer immediately to the right, headed straight into the ditch.

Although I had passed the truck by this time, I could see the driver of the truck in my rear view mirror. He was steering the truck masterfully through the ditch and up the side of the embankment—without touching the brakes (which would have likely caused the truck to flip and roll). The scene was reminiscent of a cowboy artfully riding a bucking bull, and equally as exciting! As the dust settled, I could see the truck slowly roll back down the embankment into the ditch. Several cars that had been well behind the truck when the blowout occurred stopped to ensure that the driver was unharmed and to provide assistance. Although there remained the matter of replacing the tire and extracting the truck from the ditch, the consequences of the blowout could have been so much worse. Obviously, the driver was prepared to handle such an emergency and rose to occasion. His preparedness transformed a potentially disastrous event into an annoying inconvenience.

I have reflected on the blowout numerous times in the days that followed. The lives of many were blessed—and perhaps saved—because one man was prepared to handle a blowout. What an inspiring message and image for all of life? When headed toward “the ditch,” keep two hands on the wheel. Do not overreact or overcorrect. Stay the course. Ride out the storm. Rejoice when the dust settles! An important lesson learned while road trippin’—one I won’t soon forget.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I invite you to share your perspective on the caregiving journey. Make suggestions. Pose questions. Provide resources. Share your story. Coming together and sharing, we will improve the process for one and all. I look forward to continuing the conversation next month. Til then, blessings to you and yours...Jane W. Barton

Do you have a question for Jane? Please email us at coaarp@aarp.org and we will be in touch soon!

 

Jane W. Barton, MTS, MASM, CSA is a passionate speaker, writer, and listener. Jane is the founder of Cardinal, LLC, a consulting firm that provides educational programs to assist people in confronting the daunting challenges posed by aging,  serious illness and disability. Jane is well-versed in the areas of grief and bereavement, caregiving, hospice and palliative care, change and transition, and spirituality and health. She presents innovative, transformational programs to community members, healthcare providers, pastoral caregivers, clergy, funeral service providers, and national audiences to improve the experience of people and families challenged by serious, advanced, or terminal illnesses. Previously, Jane served as Director of Education for a hospice and palliative care educational institution. She has also served as a hospice chaplain and bereavement facilitator in hospice and palliative care. Jane is a certified Spiritual Director as well as a Certified Senior Advisor. In a former life, she worked as a financial services representative and an exploration petroleum geologist and manager.

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