Caregivers Keep Positive Energy When Faced With Negativity 

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Light-hearted caregivers need to keep positive energy in order to help themselves and those in their care. But, when faced with negativity, can your emotional state open you up to making unhealthy decisions?             

I know that as a caregiver my positive energy will help me fight against any negativity encountered. But, there are days when my ability to remain positive is put to the test. Today was one of those days. There were many things to do: prepare breakfast and lunch; drive across town and back (70 miles, round-trip) for an early morning doctor’s appointment; get back on the correct street after turning on the wrong street; and get my husband to dialysis on-time.

It’s summer, and the temperature in Las Vegas was in the low 100’s.  When we arrived at dialysis I was tired, sweating and struggling to push my 200 pound husband (plus stuff hanging from his transporter chair) across a parking lot and along a walkway that had a definite “up-hill” incline. Even so, I vowed not to crack under the stress. I kept repeating my mantra:  “caregivers keep positive energy when faced with negativity.” I was going to remain positive no matter what happened. I smiled and laughed when the manager of the center saw what was happening and asked me “why I looked slightly winded.” I even got him to laugh when I told him how my day had been going and suggested that he try pushing my precious cargo as I was doing!

After taking my husband to dialysis, I still had two errands to run. I decided that my first stop would be at the medical records department located in the hospital building next to the dialysis center. My husband had recently been hospitalized for a day in the ER, and I needed to pick-up a copy of his records showing the dates that he was admitted and discharged. I thought that this was going to be an easy task. Little did I know that I was about to encounter a medical records clerk with a very “negative” attitude.

During the process of writing my book, Patient or Profit: Where Is The Love? I researched a number of topics to include how hospitals assigned patients to service categories when going to the ER. I also knew that costs vary (for example, co-pays), depending on the category.  There are three categories: outpatient (not admitted and go home the same day); inpatient (admitted, stay overnight or longer for surgical or non-surgical reasons); or, observation (designation used for billing purposes). 

The observation category is tricky.   Susan Jaffe (Kaiser Health News, September 11, 2014, 12:40 pm) talks about this in her article, “Difference between hospital admission, observation can be pricey” (Bangor Daily News).  This is an excellent article and I recommend that you read it for yourself.  She notes that you might “stay overnight in a room with a bed, receive treatment, diagnostic tests and drugs.” You are not healthy enough to go home but not sick enough to be admitted. The hospital keeps you for “observation,” which is “actually a type of outpatient service.”  Some supplemental insurance policies (like the one that my husband has) will reimburse patients for time spent in the hospital. When submitting a claim, you must document category, admit and discharge times.

After entering her office, it took a few minutes to get the attention of the medical records clerk. She was doing something else, and I had to clear my throat several times before she looked up. I asked for paperwork reflecting the details of my husband’s stay in the ER. She spent a few minutes at her computer, and then gave me forms indicating that he had only been afforded “service” from the time that we entered the ER to the time that he was logged-in as “formally admitted” to the ER (20 hours later). The paperwork also indicated that a decision was made that he could go home apparently within an hour of being “formally admitted.”

I asked for clarification regarding the service “category” and was told that I could not get any additional information. I asked again, and was given the same response. She just didn’t seem interested in my request. My attempts to explain why I needed the information were met with abruptness and impatience, almost to the point of being rude. Her vibrations definitely gave me the feeling that I was bothering her and she wanted me to leave as soon as possible. I tried to remain hopeful that all would go well, and focused on my mantra: caregivers keep positive energy when faced with negativity. However, she soon ended the conversation by walking away and going back to whatever it was that she was doing when I entered her office.

Now, I’ll admit that I left that room feeling more than just annoyed by what had happened.  I went there to do something good for someone else and this was the thanks I got. It was getting harder and harder for me to recall my mantra: caregivers keep positive energy when faced with negativity. I could feel that I was working myself into a tizzy. I felt increasingly drained of energy. I was starting to get a headache and felt like there was a weight on my chest. The only possible action that I could imagine was to retaliate by getting the attention of someone (for example, her supervisor) who could “ping her” for disrespecting me, disregarding my need, and minimizing my concerns. But, doing so would cause me to have to go back in her office, question her for this information, possibly go to another office, and spend more time in that building.

Time was passing. I had to make a decision as to what I would do. That decision would hold consequences for me. I could either play to my higher nature (maintain my positive energy state, just let it slide and walk away) or sink into negativity, possibly matching or exceeding that shown by the medical clerk. I would have to assume responsibility for whatever choice was made,  It was hard to think straight.     I needed guidance. But where would it come from?

Through all of this deliberation, I suddenly heard a very soft voice speaking to me, almost in a whisper. The voice said: “Caregivers keep positive energy when faced with negativity. You are a caregiver. Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s not about her – it’s about why you allow her to steal your precious positive energy. You need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of your husband. Trust me. You are precious to me. Follow my advice  and I will take care of you.“  When I looked around, there was no one there.  I realized that voice was coming from within me.  I decided to let it go and walk away. At that moment, my spirit lifted and my headache disappeared. I didn’t realize the most important consequence of letting that voice guide me was yet to come.

It’s funny how things happen. My next errand found me in a completely different environment. I went to a neighborhood store and decided to pick-up a rotisserie chicken for dinner.  My husband is on a very high protein diet, and I am a frequent customer. The young man who usually worked at this counter had excellent customer relation skills. He had a very positive attitude, was very polite, soft-spoken and a joy to be around. He always took time to pick-out chickens which were cooked to my liking and even put them in my basket.   But, it had been several weeks since we had spoken. Someone else had been working in his spot during this time and I thought that he might have been reassigned or fired. So,  I was surprised to see that he was back on duty, and pleased to find that his attitude had not changed. Even though his days were filled with many customers, he remembered that my husband was going to dialysis and how he liked his chickens cooked! His positive attitude was contagious and really appreciated. Sharing it with me was just what I needed to cancel out the memory of the negative attitude shown by the medical records clerk. 

As I left the store and walked to my car, I remembered the soft voice heard while at the hospital. I realized that I had almost given-up the most precious gift that I possessed – my positive and “light-hearted” energy. Once again, my mantra was playing loud and clear: caregivers keep positive energy when faced with negativity. I knew that soft voice was the voice of God, always there to take care of me in times of stress, negativity and difficult situations. With God, all things are possible. The only thing that I had to do was, let go and let God.





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