Monday, January 24, 2011
"Extreme Caregiving" . . . defining the undefinable or not
Certainly, "extreme caregiving" cannot be defined how many hours are committed daily, nor by how many years are committed over a life time. Could it be defined by the severity of need of the recipient or by the numerous medical complications. Perhaps, the level of assistance provided, the amount and nature of resources required or the depth of abandonment by family and friends? Or could the ability to take a break, a vacation, go on a shopping spree or sleep a full night without disruption be factors that could be calculated in determining "extreme caregiving". Could it be defined by the depth of love, by the support or by the absence of a spouse or by some religious overtone which places our care for our severely disabled in the realm of the extreme. None of these or all of these?
Once again, I find myself with many questions and an inability to answer, The closest that I could come to a possible definition is:
"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves to others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both." Francois Rene Auguste Chateaubriand (1768-1848)
Extreme need gives us (male/female ... excusing the 18th century paradigm) the opportunity to unite our play and our work into a definition of extreme caregiving. Maybe the words should be left undefined, but then how would the world understand?