I created Waking Up Dying to prove that purposeful, directed, goal-oriented caregiving can be an effective weapon for defending weak, helpless, sick, old and diminished patients. Sadly, the juggernaut of the American healthcare system demands more from patients than it gives. Too often, elderly caregivers (like me) are not much better off than the patient they hope to care for. They can be steamrollered as though they are not even there.
Waking Up Dying is about how my late wife and I (two journalists), with a sense of adventure and desire for self-determination, utilized our life experiences and professional skills to manage her healthcare crisis. Though burdened by cancer surgery, radiation treatment and chemotherapy, and the despair of a terminal diagnosis, we soldiered on to achieve the quality of remaining life we wanted.
This blog, and my book, offer proof that assertive and aggressive caregiving is a constructive and beneficial activity for improving patient wellbeing and accomplishing clinical changes in patient treatment while she is still alive to benefit.
I want readers to know they can adapt the skills, tools and techniques needed for proactive caregiving from among their life and professional skills and experiences as I did. I utilized project management techniques, interviewing methods, note taking training, writing skills, telephone sales methods, on-line research capabilities, meeting organization procedures, information management practices, and experience organizing large groups of unrelated people.
Caregiving is typically presented as a self-sacrificing, sensitive, heart rending and emotion filled activity doomed to failure by the loss of the one cared for. And it usually is, but it can and needs to be more. Much more.