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Caregiving and Traveling

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
September 2, 2023 3:30 am

Caregiving and Traveling

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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September 2, 2023 3:30 am

"The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." - Robert Burns

You would think after nearly 40 years of caregiving, I'd get the travel thing down cold. But a recent trip to Denver for a medical consult turned into a challenging event. I learned that, even after all these years, I need to go back to the fundamentals. 



What do you say to a caregiver?

How do you help a caregiver? I was talking to this billing agent at the doctor's office and said, how are you feeling? And she said, oh great It's Friday. And before I could catch myself, I said Friday means nothing to me. Every day is Monday. And I felt kind of ashamed of that and I'm sorry for that, but I realized that whole principle of every day is Monday. What that means for us as caregivers, we know that this is going to be a challenging day. And I wrote these one-minute chapters.

You literally could read them in one minute. And I'm really proud of this book. It's called A Minute for Caregivers, when every day feels like Monday. It's filled with bedrock principles that we as caregivers can lean on, that we can depend upon to get us to safety, where we can catch our breath, take a knee if we have to, and reorient our thinking and the weight that we carry on our shoulders. If you don't know what to say to a caregiver, don't worry about it. I do.

Give them this book. Welcome to Hope for the Caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberger. I am so glad that you're with us. All right, I have a confession to make. I just got back from Denver with Gracie. I took her down there for a consult with her surgeon as we prepare for this upcoming operation that she has to have, which is a pretty significant operation.

I truly did everything that I could to make this trip go as smoothly as possible, given all of our extreme circumstances. And Gracie has her own wheelchair. I used to have a second wheelchair, but it's gotten kind of beat up a little bit, and it doesn't function for her very well, so I took her good wheelchair. Usually, I like to have a travel wheelchair because airlines are not known for being, you know, gentle with your stuff, but it's just a straight flight down there. They pull it up to the gate, and we get out and go, and I disassemble most of it anyway when I get to the gate. I mean, what happens is I take her right onto the plane. She pivots, she gets up, she pivots, and gets right into the front seat there. We're flying this.

They have a daily flight that goes from Bozeman to Denver. You know, it's a straight shot on Southwest, and so it's open seating, but usually Gracie boards first. And it takes a few moments, and then I disassemble the back of her wheelchair, and then the arms come up, and I hold on to that piece of information because that's going to be very important, and the seat cushion that she has with it as well.

So all of those things kind of work in tandem. Then I just fold up what's left of the wheelchair. It weighs about, you know, 12 to 15 pounds, and then they check it at the gate and bring it back up to us when we arrive in Denver and vice versa. Now Gracie and I are both TSA pre-checked, so going through the TSA is not terribly traumatic anymore, and you've heard my lamentations on that particular torture exercise that they make us go through. But we get through that, we get to the gate, the guy puts tags on it, and he put three different tags on it of where this is going. So it's been a haul to get her there to the airport.

I did the music at our church on Sunday morning. I get her to the airport. You know, there's a lot involved in being a caregiver.

You know this, and there are a lot of moving pieces. He put the tag on one of these special arms that she has that she can transfer in and out of this wheelchair with. Well, I take the arms off. The yellow tag that the gate guy sees when he's unloading the plane that says, okay, this goes back to the gate. Well, that yellow tag is what catches her eye. They bring it up to the gate. Well, they didn't bring it up to the gate in Denver. So we're sitting there, and I have a car service through Uber.

I'm having them come and pick us up, and I reserved a car for her. So I got this guy, but the app is not working properly on my phone. The wheelchair doesn't come up. The guy says he's trying to catch them. He could not. He said, I'll call down there.

He did not. And so we have one of those chairs from Southwest that you have to hold the handle to make it move. Otherwise, it puts the brakes on it, which is fine, but it's hard to carry a roller bag with that while going through the airport, pushing somebody. And the way I do it is I have Gracie's purse, which has a special strap on it that fits right on my roller bag, my little carry-on, and then she holds a small little bag in her lap with her crutches. And then I'll hold her hand or push her wheelchair, and we'll get to the airport.

And it's usually not too bad except for the airports that have carpet, which why they have carpet, I do not know, but they do. So she's very tired. She's uncomfortable. She's in a lot of pain.

We finally find where this wheelchair is. And I go to the first lady and she doesn't know anything about it. She's going to send me way down the hallway there at the Denver airport.

Somehow the Denver airport is just not my favorite airport to fly in and out of, except they have a Chick-fil-A. So we go, we're getting ready to go, and this other lady calls, said, wait a minute, wait a minute, I think it's right here. So the other lady was just going to nonchalantly send us. The second lady saw us and said, is this it? We get over there, we do it, get going with Gracie.

I'm telling the driver through the Uber app that this is where we're going to be, where we're supposed to be, and I'm not getting any confirmation. And I don't know what happens. And finally, we just get abandoned. We're out there waiting. It's hot.

Gracie's tired. It's getting to be 6.15 in the evening. I'd already ordered dinner to be delivered to the hotel because we didn't want to go out to get something. We're not driving. So I have Uber Eats that come in. I've got all that piling up on me, no driver. So I call, use another app to get a Lyft driver, even though I've had my conversation with Lyft that I've shared with you all in years past.

We finally get to the hotel. Wonderful driver gets us there safely. He used to be a CNA, and now he's a Lyft driver. That's great. And he was very kind.

Shout out to Sebastian. And then we get there. The meal is waiting right there. It's already been delivered.

And so we're behind schedule on that, trying to get her settled in the room. And I booked the room at the place we stay at all the time. It's right across the street from the hospital. And I use the app for that. And we get there and they put us in a non-handicap accessible room, even though it clearly said my reservation and this is what I got.

And they didn't have one in the entire hotel according to the person there. And so we're having, I'm sitting here and it's almost eight o'clock at night. She's got appointments on Monday, first thing in the morning with labs and everything else. And I'm thinking, okay, where am I going to go? You know, to haul her to someplace else. And you know, it's just, and so we made the best of it. The meal was good and we made the best of it, but it was just one of those things where it was just like, everything was just hitting wrong. And I was pushing myself to pivot and make adjustments on the fly. So here's the lesson I learned. Okay. Number one, triple check the gate check tag for the wheelchair. Make sure it's on the actual wheelchair being set to the bottom of the plane, not on a part of it that I had to disassemble. You would think that'd be obvious, but there are things competing for shelf space in my brain.

And that one just got away from me. So triple check that. And so any of you all are traveling, triple check that. Okay. I don't normally give tips. I'm just telling you, this is what my lessons were.

And if this helps you, God bless you. And then the second thing is make sure your app is working with your ride shears, that everything is going smoothly and double and triple check that. You know, the old phrase, measure twice, cut once. Well, I think as caregivers, we have to measure 17 times and cut once, you know, at least I do.

I don't know about y'all, but I do. And then the third thing that I learned was confirm with the people on site at the hotel that we have the right room. Don't trust an app. Now you should think that you wouldn't have to worry about that.

And for most people, it really isn't a big deal, but if you have to have handicap accessible features, then I think the burden is just going to have to be on us. And that's part of the problem, you know, we have as caregivers and we just have to accept that certain reality that we, Ronald Reagan said it best, trust, but verify, trust, but verify. And so those are my three hard lessons. I won. We, we, we pulled it out. We got home safely, got Gracie back home. And then the third thing is make sure your app is working with the people on site at the hotel that you have the right room.

And then the third thing is make sure your app is working with the people on site at the hotel that you have the right room. And so those are my three hard lessons. I won. We pulled it out. We got home safely, got Gracie back home.

And then we'll head back again in two weeks, but it was just a bit maddening, but trust and verify, trust and verify. That's the word for me today as a caregiver for myself, this is Peter Rosenberg. This is what you need. Power of attorney, a will, living wills, and so many more. Then think about such things as disputes about medical bills. What if instead of shelling out hefty fees for a few days of legal help, you paid a monthly membership and got a law firm for life? Well, we're taking legal representation and making some revisions in the form of accessible, affordable, full service coverage.

Finally, you can live life knowing you have a lawyer in your back pocket who at the same time isn't emptying it. It's called Legal Shield and it's practical, affordable, and a must for the family caregiver. Visit That's Isn't it about time someone started advocating for you? An independent... I'll never forget walking into the hospital room after Gracie had her second amputation. Both legs are gone now. And she looked at me, she said, I know what I'm going to do.

And I was kind of startled. I said, what are you going to do? She said, I'm going to help provide prosthetic limbs to my fellow amputees and tell them about Jesus. And I said, well, baby, can we get out of the hospital first?

But she never let it go. And for almost 20 years, we've been working out of Ghana, West Africa. We treat patients all over there from other countries that come there. We send supplies. We send teams. We sponsor patients. We work with a prison where inmates volunteer to disassemble used prosthetic limbs so we can recycle the parts.

All of this because Gracie trusted God with her heartache. We've got a huge shipment of supplies that is being loaded up right now to go out soon. Would you help us do it? slash giving. slash giving.

There's prosthetic feet, knees, pylons, sleeves, adapters, all kinds of connectors. All of these things we are sending over there so that people can walk. We're going to point them to Christ.

Help us out. slash giving. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver.

This is Peter Rosenberger. This is the program for you as a family caregiver. Back to that last block just to tie that up. Gracie was questioning my use of apps. I get that. For me, carrying a lot of paper and trying to keep up with all that, I need my hands. When it's all on my phone, it's a lot more convenient and readily available to me, like my boarding passes and so forth, which I learned the hard way. I don't depend on being online to be able to show my boarding pass to the TSA. You could put it in your Google wallets or whatever, if you have an Android, Apple or the other, whatever. You could do all kinds of things to have it readily available, even if there's no Wi-Fi service or internet availability. By the way, I got to give a shout out to the TSA in Denver.

The ones in Montana here are usually very, very easy to work with. It's a small airport, but in Denver, imagine, if you will, everything that you think is dysfunctional about the government, and then you see that on display. I went up to there and I'm pushing a wheelchair and I've got a carry-on roller bag. I put both of our IDs in Gracie's hands to give to this guy. We are clearly together and they got signs out there, you can't say anything disparaging or whatever to the TSA. I'm very grateful that they don't have signs that say you can't think anything disparaging about the TSA because the thought police are coming after us, but at least we're still just a tiny bit ahead of them.

She hands both IDs to him. This guy, he's got a bit of an attitude, he's a little bit surly and he's a low talker. The guy's a low talker. We're in this massive cavernous place there at the airport. There's people everywhere.

It's just mass pandemonium and he's up there just being a low talker. You know what that is from Seinfeld. Remember that lady with the low talker and convinced Jerry to wear the puffy shirt? Well, that's what we're dealing with here. He gets all snippy at Gracie because she hands him two IDs for both of us.

He said, well, I only need yours, and I've got both my hands full. As he got snippy, I remember the sign and of course, Gracie gives me that look of you're not supposed to say anything that will in any way impugn these people. You know how people get, they're found in contempt of Congress. Well, I'm pretty much in contempt of Congress, the federal government. I'm in contempt of a lot of things, but I was being measured in my response as this guy continued to get snippy and I'm like, dude, you're going to have to speak a little louder so we could understand clearly what you're saying.

He just, the guy was just a jerk. Traveling with somebody in a wheelchair is hard enough. I told you all that story about at the same airport, TSA wasn't the same guy, but at that particular time, there was nobody there in that whole part of the queue. I mean, 20 feet on either side of me, there's not, but we had this maze. We had to go 20 feet, 20 yards on either side.

There was nobody there. And we had this maze we had to go through pushing a wheelchair. And so I undid one of the straps and pushed her all the way through. And the guy at the TSA made me push Gracie all the way back through an empty queue and come back in the wheelchair line that was not identified and come back on some other line. But it was not, I was, you know, I handled that the way that you think I would handle it. And I was, well, there's a sanctification process that goes on in my life when I go through the TSA. Let's just say that.

All right. And I'm like you all, I mean, I'm a caregiver and I'm juggling 16 different things and we've got all this stuff we put on people because our, well, all right, I'm going to swerve into an area that's not, that's my opinion and not my experience. In my experience, they make it very difficult for people pushing wheelchairs and so forth. And it is a bit challenging and we're doing the best we can, but these guys can be a bit challenging. So I did my best to be measured. And as Gracie says, don't hurt your witness, which always is incredibly inspiring for me to hear from her when I'm in the midst of that. But I try not to, I admire people who can keep a cheerful disposition in moments like this, but I struggle with that. I really do. I get irritated. I get irritated with foolishness and I don't even know what to say. And you see strange people at the TSA, I mean at the airport too, but I saw this one guy and he was walking around and had this shirt on that said freedom and he was wearing a mask.

And then I saw people with double masks and I was like, you know, it's a strange place, but irrespective of which I go back to what I said, trust but verify. And I do like using the apps because it does help keep it concise. But if you do have connection problems, sometimes it can be a bit of a challenge.

Take that and do with it what you will. And if that helps, but I would highly recommend if you travel a lot with your loved one. Well, even if you don't really think through all the stuff that's going to happen because it's going to be challenging, particularly if you're at a major airport. If you're at a smaller airport, like we leave going out from here in Bozeman, they're pretty easy to work with for the most part.

They're very gracious and helpful and so forth. But when you get to big airports where they're just inundated with so many people, it can be very unpleasant. And since 9-11, it's just traveling.

It used to be fun. And Gracie, you heard on the interview I had a couple of weeks ago with Liz Marshall, who was a flight attendant. We were talking about the old days when you dressed up to go on an airplane.

Well, that's over. But Gracie still does and I still do. I mean, we don't look like vagabonds when we go. I have gotten Gracie to minimize her Mr. T collection because Gracie likes jewelry. And she likes jewelry that you can see from the back row kind of thing, which doesn't work well when you go through airports.

So she's done very well at concisely packing. And she doesn't like it, but we've had to work this out because we have to travel back and forth. That's one thing about living out so far where we live.

If you want to get to these kinds of facilities where you have those kind of doctors, we were kind of spoiled in Nashville because we live five minutes from Vanderbilt University Medical Center. And so it was no big deal. I'd just go back to the house if we forgot something. But out here you have to think it through and you have to plan. And there is a lot of planning that goes. I still think that being out of the city, and by the way, I heard more sirens because we stay right there near the hospital, the hotel. And we heard more sirens that night than I hear out here in a year because we live so remotely. We're out in the country. So that's the trade-off we have.

But if you do travel with your loved one and you have any type of mobility challenges like that, my experience has taught me be very thorough, I guess is the best word to go back and look at, maybe even make a checklist. Because there's just too many things that compete for shelf space in our brains. And I mean, think about it. Think about all the things that we have to make sure to check, all the boxes we have to check to do this. And then my father-in-law came down and checked on the house while I was in there. He called me yesterday. He said, did you mean to leave your door unlocked at the house? And I was like, well, no, I didn't. I mean, fortunately where we live, it's not really that much of an issue, but I thought I'd locked it up, but he found it and got it taken care of. And I was very grateful for that. But that gives you an idea of just the moving pieces and, you know, even remembering where we parked, you know, kind of thing.

It could be a bit of a challenge. It's just amazing. I mean, you know, I've been doing this since I was 22. You would think I'd have a pretty good system, but it just, it just gangs up on you. And I don't, you know, if you stress out about it, that can be its own set of problems. And I admit I was pretty vexed by the time I got to the hotel and they put us in the wrong room and the lady at the counter was just like, yeah, well, you know, I'm really sorry.

And I'm like, wow, you know, you remember, well, you probably don't watch the Simpsons, but Homer once said to Marge, you know, sorry, doesn't put the thumbs back on the hands Marge, you know, kind of thing. And I think we're going to find in this world we live in that customer service is almost it's such a scarcity that if, that you're going to have to assume that they're not going to care and they're not going to do their job right. And I hate to say that, and I would love for you to tell me differently, but I'm going to assume for the most part that most people aren't going to care in places like when you're doing things like this travel and high, high volume places like this, that they're probably not going to care. And they're probably not going to do their job with any kind of enthusiasm. And when it happens, I'm always pleasantly surprised and delighted.

But if I go in there expecting it, I will be disappointed greatly. And you know, I, I hate that. I hate that for our country. I hate that for those of us who, who travel with all kinds of special needs and considerations and so forth, but the onus is on us. And there was a time when that was not quite the same way, but I think those days are over.

And I think that we have to be prepared for it, that we're going to run into all kinds of craziness and we're going to have to adjust on the fly. And you know, you can do all the planning you want. I had it right there in my app. I got it. I pulled up the email where they sent me and confirmed, here's what you're getting with a roll-in shower. You got a ADA accessible room and all that kind of stuff.

And zip zero nada. And there wasn't so much of, Hey, we hate this for you. We're going to sit, we're going to make this right. We're going to do something here. Don't you worry. I know you're, I know you're tired. Let us help you. No, no, there wasn't any of that.

There was, Hey, I'm sorry. Nothing I do. I just work here. You know, I'm just here. There's nothing I do.

And I was like, man, what an indictment on the culture. I will. All right.

Ranting's over. I had to learn some hard lessons this week. Again, trust, but verify and recognize that I'm going to have to triple, quadruple and quintuple check. This is Peter Rosenberg. This is Hope for the Caregiver. We'll be right back.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-02 04:09:45 / 2023-09-02 04:20:13 / 10

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