Thanks -- a Small Word with Big Meaning
By Jean Donahue
have been writing this column for over two years now. It has been a
wonderful experience for me. Thank you so much for reading my column and
sending me your questions and comments.
may wonder what goes into writing a column like this. Let me explain how
it all works.
I even get to writing the column, I answer emails with questions about
their particular caregiving situation. I thoroughly enjoy connecting with
those of you who are taking care of your loved ones. You all want the best
for your loved one, and that can be very difficult and frustrating. And,
your loved one doesn't always make it easy.
of us want to be forced to take care of our loved ones. We want them to be
healthy and happy all through their life, but most of the time that
I know what might help you in your situation, and sometimes I don't. When
I don't, I start researching and calling people (experts in the field) who
might know. Sometimes I find what I need fairly quickly. Other times I
need to spend more time finding a possible solution. In all situations, I
learn. I do wish my mind would remember everything perfectly, but it
doesn't. That's where the computer comes in. I save it on my computer
(which I back-up). I don't want to lose it. It is important, and I will
probably need it again.
I ask other people for their input, I don't always get their reply as soon
as I would like. Sometimes it takes 2-4 weeks -- or longer -- before
they reply to my questions. Thus, I keep a file with current questions
that I have not answered.
I write the weekly column. The question and answer columns don't take
as long as the other columns because I have already found answers to the
questions. I look through the questions I have been sent, and put together
a column. I usually rewrite my answer so that it will help other people
instead of just that one person. It takes around two hours to write the
question and answer columns.
the other columns, I first develop an idea to write about. I search
through my emails, watch the newspapers, check other caregiving websites,
listen to the news and even ask my co-workers if they have any ideas.
Several of them are taking care of their parents. (I have a full-time job
to pay the bills.)
I have the subject for a column, I search the internet, newspapers and
other sources for good information. I need to stay away from information
that might not be accurate or helpful, so I am always on guard for wrong
information. Anything I use is verified by more than one legitimate
source. Then I put all the information together and print it out. That can
be anywhere from 10-60 pages of information. I sit down with a highlighter
and highlight what I consider to be good information that I might use.
Next I cut out the information I don't want to use (in the computer). Then
I print it again. I look through it once again for duplicate information,
then I read it thoroughly. I take a break for a day or two to let the
information formulate in my mind, then I am ready to write the column.
I feel "inspired" when writing the column, and sometimes it is
more work than anything. Either way, it's important to give you, my
reader, correct information that might help you. The final stage of
actually writing the column usually takes a couple hours.
am human and sometimes I don't "feel" like writing this column,
but it is that way with everything we do in life. I had a terrible time
getting the information I needed when I was taking care of my parents, and
I have this deep desire to help others that are taking care of their loved
ones. It is such a frustrating and traumatic time for you, the family
caregiver, and your loved one. I want to make it easier for you if I can.
I hope this next year is a good year for all of you. You all have a basic desire to do a good job of taking care of your loved one, and that is something that is priceless.