Heart Choices: Nobody Wants to be a Burden

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Nobody Wants to be a Burden



Years ago, I surveyed heart patients. I gave them a questionnaire to complete to find out what their greatest fear was.  I thought it might be fear of dying. After all, most of them had experienced a major heart issue. But the results came back, and the answer was that they were afraid of becoming a burden to others. They wanted to be independent no matter how long they lived.

Currently, I am staying with my dad who is eighty-nine-years old. I flew to Florida for the week to help him out after his week-long stay in the hospital with congestive heart failure. He lives alone. I am a nurse and live in Arizona. So, it was frustrating for me keeping in touch through frequent phone calls. The final straw came when he fell and couldn't get up for two hours. He had his cell phone in his back pocket, but couldn't reach it to call for help. Even the bars installed in his bathroom didn't help since he was too weak to pull himself up. I bought a plane ticket the next day!



What a joy it has been to help my Dad in his time of need. I've had the pleasure of cooking some of his favorite foods such as Kjøttkaker (Norwegian meatballs) and Norwegian waffles. The smell of cardamom emanates from his tiny kitchen. I review his new medications as prescribed by the doctor and place them in his dispenser for each morning and evening. I drive his car along the shore. We stop to stroll on the pier so we can watch the fishing boats as they return with their catch. I enjoy meeting the home health nurse and accompanying him to his doctor appointments.

My dad doesn't want to be a burden. Like the heart patients I surveyed, my dad wants to be independent, no matter how long he lives.   But allowing loved ones to help care for you during a time of need is a gift. It has been a joy for me to give back to a man who was always there for me.

I used to tell patients that sometimes you need to accept help for a period so, in the long run, you can maintain your independence.


My dad doesn't want to be a burden. But as far as I'm concerned, he will never be a burden.

"Let all that you do be done in love." I Corinthians 16:14 (ESV) 

Blessings and love,

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Debbie Petras
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2 comments:

  1. Debbie - this is a powerful message. I know that I don't want to be a burden, but sometimes we need some help to get back on our feet - literally.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a beautiful testimony of a daughter and father bond. I'm glad you were able to be there for your dad. I'm sure he counts you among his biggest blessings. None of us want to be a burden, but you're right that when we do need help, we need to allow others the joy of giving it.

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