The Healing Companion: Stories for Courage, Comfort and Strength
by The Healing Project
LaChance Publishing, 2008
Review by Tijuana L. Canders
Jan 27, 2017
Voices of Caregiving subtitled The Healing Companion: Stories for Courage, Comfort and Strength is a comprise of congenial collective stories strategically introduced under the umbrella of The Healing Project, in an act of other caregivers’ surrendering their openness to serve as a focal point of connection to the community through stories of compassions, vulnerabilities, fears and victories in order to provide awareness of the role of caregiving and the permeable aspects of such a role as well.
Preludes of four to five short stories are followed by highlighted segments on the subjects of Palliative and Hospice Care with a continual flippant of the educational awareness for someone searching for such material for a loved one and then shares the intimate stories again for the benefit of emotional healing for the reader. Cynthia X. Pan the author of this section on Palliative and Hospice Care uses an indebt educational tone in thorough overview which helps give a clear presentation of careful researched material regarding common resources used, relations in medical coverage and the patients’ needs of medical entitlement in connection with both areas. Pan explains that Palliative care begins very early on as soon as a serious illness is diagnosed, working alongside primary doctors, geriatricians, and neurologists should not be finalized as the withdrawal of care or giving up, but should be thought of as the involvement of intensive, highly sophisticated medical interventions intended to relieve suffering, improving the quality of life stating that Hospice closely follows the same adherence of comprehensive team based services for the last stage of life, and follows the bereaved caregiver for continued support.
The book contains three forewords, Barry Katz ‘The New Frontier of Caregiving’, James Huysman, Psy.D., LCSW ‘America’s New First Responder: Prisoners of Love Today,Sacred Heroes’, Laura Bauer Granberry, MPA ‘The Caregiving Crisis in America’ and an introduction written by Debra LaChance creator and founder of The Healing Project who shares her own personal story of redemption of oneself through the vital connections of others stories that helped her overcome while battling thru her own journey of breast cancer.
Heartfelt stories written from a streamline of love to grief from other caregivers could not be mirrored in emotion to this book. If I were to write about and rename them all it would be an injustice to the readable material book wise hindering the effect of such a work of art, but I will expand on a few.
In ‘My Own Sixth Sense’ Toni Weingarten, a caregiver as a veteran chaplain, has witnessed a wide spectrum of patients’ family members reactions to the reality of death, from utter turmoil of vicious words spoken relentlessly while grieving to the far end of the celebration of life where the joy of memories balance with the emotions of grief, who learned early on from a wise teacher that as chaplain he was there to be the centering force for them, not to take on their pain. As chaplain today Weingarten holds an optimistic view that this process of life and death is hewn in the love of God and His natural process of human life.
Kay Cavanaugh a nurse who drives to the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the story ‘Ben and the Snow Storm’ though hesitant through a heavy snowfall trudges through the snow to aid her patient Ben, builds a relationship of warmth in times of making home visits there, forgetting the sting of coldness once clinging to her body, embraces the realness of gratitude between herself the caregiver and Ben the cancer patient. Realizing that if Ben is settled and at peace with the situation at hand himself, then she is more apt to rest herself once leaving his presence.
Or Carla Joinson a Nurse’s Aide in the story ‘Love Is Never Too Old’ whose empty cupboards and bank account initially motivated her to take the position and whose only exposure of the elderly had been to her grandparents realized that she was being prepared for a lesson. When meeting her patient Eddie, despite the shouts, retardation and crippleness, as with so many other patients residing there, began to appreciate his unique personality. As time went on through her practice of caregiving she could see Eddie’s gentleness between the shouts and yelps. She became endearingly flattered of his recognition of her despite his impairment and learned profoundly before moving on to a more successful position that love can come from the most unlikely places.
In ‘Mom Had Alzheimer’s’ Ruth A. Bradwein writes openly about the experience of her mother’s bout with Alzheimer’s disease, recalling points of importance as the designated caregiver for the Alzheimer patient. Noting that most times her mother’s care involved mutual agreement from her sister which helped ease the decision making task a lot. Also adding that the time came when an additional need of in home care was trusted to come, in order for her to accomplish other tasks outside of the home greatly, appreciating the respect, self-worth, and allowance for independence shown towards her mother from the extra care received.
Two afterwords were written by Rosemary Laird, MD, MHSA titled Caregivers Seeking Advice: A Doctors Prescription and by Ooi-Thye Chong, RN, MPH, L. Ac. titled When Angels Appeared: Narratives in Complementary Medicine. Laird’s focus includes five steps to help the caregiver take the proper steps towards comfort and confidence of the patient through illness and possible recovery. While Chong’s focus is on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), it’s therapies (yoga, meditation, exercises, acupuncture, and herbs) and the use of Complementary Medicine in working capacity with conventional medical treatment.
Voices of Caregiving: The Healing Companion is a text that can be used for physicians, students, patients, family members, and caregivers alike. A wealth of information and resources are located in the back of the book for further knowledge on this subject. This book was well thought out in order to bring about the right blanket of tones in collaboration with one another for a good read.
© 2017 Tijuana L.Canders