“A Pharmacist? And you quit your job to start HOME CARE??” If I had a nickel for every time I was asked this, I’d……well, I’d still be doing what I do because I love it!
But I’m not quite sure how to respond to a question like that. Am I expected to be flattered? (because, clearly, I’m not) Or should I be offended? (because, what kind of a person implies that the idea of helping the elderly and the disabled is any less worthy?). But I’m mostly glad that they know so little about the business of home care. I mean, who needs more competition, right?
So, why did I switch careers? Well, I didn’t. I have an active Pharmacist license and I intend on keeping it that way, in the hopes that I will some day feel excited to work as a Pharmacist again. But what I’d really like to share is what made me choose home care. Or rather, who.
You see, long before I even knew what In-home care was, I happened to come across a caregiver who, a decade later, would influence one of the biggest decisions of my life. My mom, who was all of 54, was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. I was a full time undergrad student at the time, living out of state with my parents. After a few rounds of radiation and over a month long hospital stay, she’d come home to be bed ridden, incoherent and experiencing frequent seizures because the cancer had spread to her brain, as well as other parts of her body. She was on a special diet and multiple medications. She was also at a constant risk of falls because of how weak she had gotten. Thank God for my siblings who were a tremendous support, but as much as they wanted to stick around, they had their jobs and lives to return to, in California. So, between my dad and I, we needed someone with experience to help take care of her.
Lilly was a LVN who worked as a caregiver for a local hospital, which also provided home care services. And because she was very good at her job, my family decided to hire her as a live-in caregiver. Over a period of one year, my mom seemed to be recovering and Lilly had become more than a caregiver and more than a nurse to her. She had become her friend and a confidant. She’d help her with all the daily living activities as well as provide companionship. But most importantly, she’d make my mom laugh.
The two of them would talk about everything. Lilly had a family of her own. She had a boyfriend and a father who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She had lost her mother a few years ago. My mom would sometimes lecture Lilly on the inadequacies of her diet and would often tell her to find a better guy to “settle down” with. As much as all that made me uncomfortable to listen to, I could tell from Lilly’s smile that she didn’t mind any of it. She once told me that she knew it came from a place of love and it was not anything different from what her own mother would’ve said to her, had she been alive.
My mom looked forward to having her home, and so did my dad and I.
The following year my mom lost her battle to cancer.
I remember that day vividly. I remember my dad coming out of my mom’s room, to let us know that she had passed. I remember everyone who came to visit and everything they said to me. I mostly listened, didn’t speak much. I also remember Lilly crying and apologizing to me on her way out. I could tell that she had been blaming herself for “not being good enough and letting this happen”. I hugged her good bye and told her that she was being silly and that she had done a wonderful job in taking care of my mom. I remember that’s the most I had spoken to anyone that day, since losing my mom.
Now, 11 years later, every time I interview a caregiver, I remember Lilly. Every time someone hires us to care for their loved one, I try to find them their Lilly…… because I will always remember mine.
To help us find your Lilly, click here or call (424) 337-1314. We look forward to hearing from you!