One of my favorite television shows, when I was a child, was Sea Hunt. The show featured, Mike Nelson, (Lloyd Bridges,) an ex-Navy Frogman who found, adventure, mystery, and excitement under the ocean waves. The other night, I watched an episode called Imposter, and was surprised by what I saw. Let me tell you about the first few minutes of the program and see if you understand what surprised me so much. In the opening scene we see a man and woman looking over the railing of a boat. “I can’t tell where Mike is.” the woman says. The man, shading his eyes with his hand, suddenly points, “There,” We see bubbles on the surface and the scene changes, and we see a ship lying on the bottom. Who should come into view, but Mike Nelson, the hero of the program, swimming alone he enters the sunken ship. You can tell, by his actions that, he is looking for something. He enters a storage room and using his diving knife pries opens a locker door. Just that fast, he finds what he came for, a jewelry box that contains a bracelet made of huge diamonds. Strangely, he hides the jewels in his pocket and tosses the box aside. The next scene shows him surfacing and swimming to the boat. Once in the boat the woman asks him, “Did you find my jewelry box? Was it in the locker like I said?” “No,” He answers, “I found the locker, but the door was open and the locker empty. With the current down there, that jewelry box could be anywhere. I’ll go back down later and see what I can find.” WHAT??!! We just watched as Mike opened the locker, took the jewels out of the box, and put them in his pocket. Why is he lying to the rightful owner of those Jewels? Only later do we find that this diver is an imposter, someone who looks like Mike.
As you were reading, did you see what surprised me? What do you think it was? Were you surprised that the hero Mike stashed the bracelet in his swim suit, and tossed the box? Did it surprise you that he came aboard the boat and told a barefaced lie telling the woman that he didn’t find anything in the locker? Well as surprised as I was by these facts the thing that really amazed me was that this former Navy Frogman, was diving alone.
A Navy Frogman has training way beyond what regular people have. Yet even a novice on his first dive knows that there is one unbreakable rule; You NEVER dive alone. It doesn’t matter how many dives you’ve made, the quality of the equipment you have, or the depth of the training you receive, you just don’t Scuba dive without a partner. Think about it, if you are inside a ship, and something goes wrong with your equipment you would never make it back to the surface. Equipment failure is a main reason why you never dive alone.
Once, my brother-in-law, Kirk, and my cousin’s husband, Fred, were diving when suddenly Kirk realized that he wasn’t getting any air. He checked his gauges and saw that he had plenty of air in the tank. He turned to Fred and drew his finger across his throat, indicating a lack of air. Fred came and they began buddy breathing, which is where you take turns breathing from your partners tank. Suddenly Fred got a huge smile on his face and turned the air back on in Kirk’s tank. Fred was a real practical joker and thought it would be a hoot to turn off Kirk’s air. But what if Kirk’s regulator really had stopped working? With Fred by his side, he was safe, because Fred had enough air for both men to make it to the surface. However, what if Kirk had been diving alone and had equipment failure? In such a case, the odds are, that he would have died.
If you’ve been reading the Caregiver Survival Blog series, you could probably write the next sentence for me. So, let’s check it out. Here are a couple of, fill in the blanks.
Just a well-trained Scuba Diver would never think of diving alone, so a well-trained Caregiver will not think of taking care of their LO, __________________!! NEVER ___________!! You must start today to build your Caregiving _________.
Answers: 1. By themselves or alone. 2. Alone, 3. Team.
Now this illustration doesn’t mean that you should never be alone in the house with your loved one. But is does mean that, when you are drowning in anger, sadness, frustration, or stress, you have someone you can call and say, “I need to get out of here for a couple of hours.”
Right now, you might be thinking, “Okay, Dave, we get it, we understand already! why are you saying this again???” Today, I saw a therapist for the first time in about twenty years. I have shared with Facebook Support Groups and you readers, about my anger, swearing, cursing, crying, depression, etc. I’ve decided to get some help and this Therapist is now on my Survival team. After I told her about Harriet’s Dementia, and my plan to survive, she asked, “Everything you are planning is good. But how many of your plans are being carried out, and how many are still on paper?” Don’t you hate questions like that?
I had to admit that there was a lot more on paper than was actually being done. She said, “Don’t wait until you need something to get it in place, do it now, be proactive.” She went on, “Right now Harriet doesn’t need 24-hour supervision, you can get away and everything is good. However, now is the time to set up a schedule of people coming by to visit. Because if you wait until Harriet cannot be alone to start, it will be much more difficult for her to accept. Now she can understand what is happening, but, the time may come when no amount of explaining will help. She will be upset that you are leaving when she is used to you being around all the time.”
I’ve been reflecting since I left her office. Here is my confession.
- I still don’t take the five cleansing breaths a day that Teepa Snow taught us about.
- I still do not exercise every day. Today is Wednesday, I rode my bike once this week.
- I still am not watching my diet. Too much junk food is allowed
- I am not taking the steps to ensure I get a good night’s sleep.
- I have not contacted the Respite, hospice, nursing homes, or any group that will help with the Caregiving chores.
What about you? How is your survival plan going? I will be praying for you just as I ask for your prayers. About a month ago I called every one of you to join me in boot camp. I guess I’d better get on the bus.
Finally, have you downloaded your copy of the Careblazer Survival Guide? This Guide is a great place to start to plan your own Survival boot camp. Dr. Natalie wants all of us to make it through this alive. Will you join me?