Easing the Burdens of Caregivers: Meet @IndianaScott

Feb 19, 2018 | John, Volunteer Mentor | @johnbishop | Comments (19)

Member Spotlights feature interviews with fellow Connect members. Learn more about members you’ve connected with and some you haven’t met yet. Nominate a member you think should share the spotlight.

Scott spotlight

JOHN: Scott, what brought you to Mayo Clinic Connect and motivates you to take part in the community?

@IndianaScottMy wife was a long-time patient of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, as she waged her 14-plus-year war against brain cancer. During this time, she and I not only developed an incredibly special relationship with her physicians at Mayo, but I was also her full-time caregiver.  I found caregiving was the toughest job I ever held: no training, no employee manual just “jump into the deep end and try to swim with the sharks.” The longer I was a caregiver, I also began realizing how intensely isolating caregiving (and chronic illness) can be to patients, caregivers and families. It was this isolation which sent me searching early one morning for some online community open to discussing the realities of caregiving. Quite by accident, I found Connect, and it was the Mayo Clinic brand, which led me to investigate it and brought me into the fold.

JOHN: What about Connect makes you feel comfortable to share and to be open with the community?

@IndianaScott: At first I registered and just jumped in and began posting and replying to various threads. I found the community to be welcoming, open and nonjudgmental. Also, I discovered it was one of the few online communities where I could talk about what caregiving is really like for the vast majority of regular folks who find themselves thrust into the role of being a caregiver. After a while, I was lucky to be asked if I would consider becoming a volunteer mentor, which I agreed to do. To me, the best part of Connect is we can all be open and honest, and so many can benefit from this community.

JOHN: What groups do you participate in?

@IndianaScott: The Caregivers group is closest to my heart, since it was my idea to see if such a group might be of interest within the Connect community. I also participate in the Brain Tumor; Chronic Pain; Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat; Just Want to Talk; Mental Health; Sleep Health and Visiting Mayo Clinic groups.

JOHN: Who has been a special connection for you on Connect?

@IndianaScott: I can’t really identify any specific individual, but I can say, with all my heart, every caregiver who participates and reads the Caregivers posts are very special to me. As I said, caregiving can be incredibly isolating. Add to this the stigma often associated with being a caregiver, difficulties faced by many in their employment and the often seeming impossibility of meeting the daily demands of caregiving, I admire every caregiver who takes a few moments of their precious time to participate in this particular Connect community.

JOHN: What surprised you the most about Connect?

@IndianaScott: I would have to say there are two things I admire most about Connect: first is how accepting and nonjudgmental the community is, and second would be how willing the community is to listen to what the unvarnished truth is about many of the struggles people face in their healthcare and caregiving journeys.

JOHN: What energizes you, or how do you find balance in your life?

@IndianaScott: After 14 years of being completely out of balance in my life due to the overloaded lifestyle that is endemic to caregiving, I am still struggling to find balance in this different phase of my life. I am trying to make up for lost time with our children and grandchildren as well as with some good friends of old who stuck with me through the thick and thin of my caregiving years.

JOHN: Tell us about your favorite pastime or activity.

@IndianaScott: After spending time with family and friends, my current hobby is learning more about the red wines of Napa Valley, California, and developing a family wine cellar centered on them.

JOHN: Do you have a favorite quote, life motto or personal mantra?

@IndianaScott: “Wonder Woman and Superman only exist in comic books, so no one can be a superhero in caregiving.”

JOHN: What do you appreciate the most in your friends?

@IndianaScott: I truly and deeply appreciate those very few friends who stuck with me and understood me during my caregiving years.

JOHN: What food can you simply not resist?

@IndianaScott: My wife was 100 percent Italian, and she introduced me to gnocchi, which I absolutely cannot, nor want to, ever resist!

JOHN: Puppies or kittens?

@IndianaScott: Having bred yellow Labrador retrievers for decades, I’m a puppy guy through and through!

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Interested in more newsfeed posts like this? Go to the About Connect: Who, What & Why blog.

@windwalker

@IndianaScott Hello Scott! My mother had emphazyma due to Alpha-1 (she passed away at age 58). My father retired early and was her sole caregiver. It was hard on him in many ways as I am sure you know. My hat is off to caregivers, I am sure it can feel like a thankless job. I heard a gentleman at a lung transplant support group once say that after his wife's transplant, people would call the house and ask how she was doing. He said "Not a one asked me how I was doing." Scott, how are you doing? How is that wine venture coming along?

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Thanks @windwalker Terri! I appreciate the kind words! I send good wishes for a strong recovery for your sister-in-law!
Scott

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@gman007

Hi Scott, I so admire anyone who can and will subjugate their self to care for another. I have been disabled for 6 years, but primarily I can not work or drive and sometimes have issues with decision making. Just these limitations put an extra burden on my wife as she is an elementary school guidance counselor and after completion of one more 8 week class will begin working on her dissertation for her EdD. She amazes me with her ability to stay positive and except when she had the flu over the past week rarely ever appears to be "at her wit's end" where I am concerned. What you did, for the period of time both your wife and you had to suffer is so very commendable. Thanks for helping others who are doing the same thing every day and I hope you are able to catch up with your kids and grandkids as much as possible. Gary

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Thanks @gman007 I appreciate the kind words and support! Indeed, all I can say about caregiving is love is an incredible motivator and can often lead us places we never knew we could go!

I am doing just want you say — catching up with our children and The Grands right now and having a very good time doing it! Being on their turf for a few weeks is a good way to mend my soul! Plus our daughter even came down from Chicago to join us all for a mini-family reunion of sorts, going across the state to spread some of my wife's ashes in the fourth of the five spots she wanted. All five are shorelines so we get a bonus of seeing some very nice spots too.

Best of luck to you and your wife as well!

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@blb3988

My mother-in-law recently passed away from Lewy body dementia, and my father-in-law took care of her as long as he could. I admire people, men especially, who take on this new role! I realize that marriage is “in sickness and in health “, but some really step up to the plate. I recently had hip surgery (not the “normal “ procedure) performed at Mayo in Rochester and my husband has now been my care giver, as well as working a full time job as a plant manager. Many years ago we had a yellow lab named Sadie. She was incredibly smart and a great friend! We currently live in IN. I assume(ohoh!) that you do also, because of your name! So,
thanks! From: an appreciative wife!

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Hello @blb3988 I am so sorry to be so late in responding to your lovely post! For some reason I did not see it. Again, sorry about that and let me say a warm, if belated, welcome to Mayo Connect! You assumed (!) correctly! I do live in Indiana and we even raised yellow Labs for many, many years! Our 'dog of a lifetime' was a yellow named Cinder! She was one amazing dog!

I appreciate your kind words and wish you well!

Thanks again and I hope to hear from you again on Connect!

Courage, strength, and peace!

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To me SHARING is CARING. Thanks for sharing. Dr Ron. “Your well-being is my commitment. Enjoy the Good. “

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@virtuous69

@IndianaScott so happy to see you recognized. I loved sharing eith you reading your encouraging replies to just want to talk. My problems are worse, husband retired last month and we have to move quickly. Glad to hear about your interest in Napa Valley Wines and that you raised Labradors. Will jump back on to mayo connect in a little bit into the two categories that I used . I was on" just want to talk" and chronic pain. Thank you again for your volunteering :you are a dear ,dear person to me. Sincerely Dori ( Victorious69)

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The Only One Who Really Likes Change – is a WET baby. I really like your “temporary for permanent.” I heard we need to exchange -short term stress, for long term benefit. – I believe in Quality of Investment (like investing in brushing your teeth now, so you have your own teeth later. ). Dr Ron. “Your well-being is my commitment- enjoy the good”.

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This is an amazing amount of helpful information. We are at Kendal@Oberlin and if needed, we have access to a Care Center on campus. Barbara Evans

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@windwalker

@IndianaScott Hello Scott! My mother had emphazyma due to Alpha-1 (she passed away at age 58). My father retired early and was her sole caregiver. It was hard on him in many ways as I am sure you know. My hat is off to caregivers, I am sure it can feel like a thankless job. I heard a gentleman at a lung transplant support group once say that after his wife's transplant, people would call the house and ask how she was doing. He said "Not a one asked me how I was doing." Scott, how are you doing? How is that wine venture coming along?

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John I have a wonderful caregiver. Can you believe her company pays her $8.99 an hr. Since most companies have to make a profit, my long term care is limited by my co to $99. a day. It would seem the payors and the companies providing the service are under real financial constraints. This would suggest a Government program seperate or in conjunction with the private sector. Meanwhile, I slip her some gas money when she takes me shopping. She is 70 years old but a gem. I am a 90 yr. old Korean combat veteran. I have a cap on my insurance. Can you make comments. If I outlive my cap, I am screwed.Bill54321

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