Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Listening to Her Words
When I answered the phone I could hear the panic and desperation in the woman’s voice. I have met her at programs PULSE has hosted and knew that she is highly educated and by my standards very bright. What could she possibly be so frantic about?
Her husband was hospitalized and coming home needing home care services. Now she needs surgery and will be off her foot for a few weeks. How will she care for her elderly husband? Her concerns were reasonable but who can she share this panic with that she felt was unreasonable?
This woman, who has always been in control was feeling out of control. A very reasonable feeling when already scared for her husband and now herself. She didn’t want to hear the words “don’t worry” which is the reaction of most people. She didn’t know it, I did, that she wanted to know how to get back in control. That’s what we did. I was surprised to learn she already had a home care agency picked out to help around the house for herself and her husband. So what was I there for?
By allowing her to talk, prompting her with questions, I learned the representative of the home care agency was coming to visit. By listening, I learned she was not prepared for that interview. Together we thought of questions and what her, and her husband’s needs might be. Interviewing the people from the home care agency as well as having a stranger in her home caring for her husband what was causing anxiety. Helping her control this situation, unrelated to her surgery or her husband’s illness is what helped her through.
We can’t assume that we know what is upsetting someone. Believing it was her concern about surgery or her sick husband would have wasted valuable time and would have steered her into a direction she didn’t need to go.
With her list of questions ready for the person from the home care agency, and her requests for how they should behave in her home, she now felt better and back in control.