By Freda Rumford from the January 2012 Edition
It is absolutely no secret that many people retiring to Manzanillo come initially as a couple with many then, in response to the Grim Reaper or changes in a relationship, become singles. A new life has begun but one with a totally different slant. Instead of having the helpmate alongside to share the difficulties along the way, all of a sudden lone decisions have to be made and some health problems start to seem insurmountable.
It was with this in mind, that good friends, Patty Talasy and Mary Lessig, looked at starting a “Share the Care” program. Both had been involved in similar ventures in their hometowns and seen how, when faced with a massive amount of caring for a sick loved one. Many people, now in the role of Primary Care Giver, eventually become too sick or disheartened themselves to be able to continue to tend another properly or sometimes even think of what to do next. How do very elderly people, barely able to walk, manage to look after their partner who are now in a grave health situation? With difficulty! How do people, moving to a new land or holidaying abroad, manage to cope with a major illness when away
from family and old trusted friends? Definitely with difficulty, even if young and capable! Caring for a sick or temporarily crippled person takes an enormous toll and though in many cases the caregiver can manage to get through the difficult period, they are then totally spent and worn out, now possibly too weak to resist illness themselves.
Mary & Patty broached the subject one afternoon at a Bridge Lesson. Perhaps it was not the best place to start but their suggestion did not fall on deaf ears! Initially, it was hard to grasp the concept of how to tackle the major task of organising a group of almost strangers into a team. The idea of how to relegate and delegate had already been formulated. It just need for the “Captain” and the “Coordinator” to get the various forms printed for interested persons to state what they could and would do, what they couldn’t and wouldn’t do and just how often and for how many months would they be available.
Talk is cheap! Ideas are a dime a dozen! To take a plan, run with it and have it happen with minimum fuss and bother, is a miracle. To their credit, Patty & Mary made a miracle.
Naturally, those persons somewhat interested, needed to see if it would work. And those definitely interested in doing something to help others, to feel useful and wanted, needed to have a project to start on.
Luckily for them and unluckily for the poor guinea pig, a perfect situation fell into their laps. A lady in Manzanillo, new to the area and with few friends, had a nasty fall which then developed major complications. Many difficulties with the Mexican Health system and one very difficult doctor, prolonged the agony, Jackie D was in deep doo doo! Two friends did as much as possible but when hospitalization loomed with the 24hour required visitation, they knew they were out of their depth and desperately needed help.
After addressing two groups, Manzamigos A.C. and Mujeres Amigas plus speaking to friends, and in next to no time, Patty the Captain and Mary, the Coordinator, had 24 volunteers ready willing and able to cover the complete 4 day stay in hospital. The planning was for 2 hour visiting increments during the day, so that no-one got overtired and three full night stay-over’s, with absolutely no major problems developing. Although initially, people did wonder if the full day coverage was necessary, but in a short space of time it was proven to be vital. Nursing in Mexico is not the same as in the U.S. or Canada and even bed pan duty became the standard duty of the day.
The patient is at last at home with a two week immobilisation regimen, but deeply thankful for the many people who took time out of their precious few days before Christmas, to take care of a virtual stranger and become a new friend.
This program will be continued throughout the year, with Patty & Mary training other people to become captains and coordinators in other and personal instances. It is just impossible for them to take charge of all of the requests for help personally but as in “Share the Care” they are more than pleased to “Share the Know How!”. Anyone interested in learning more about the programme to either help or form their own group can contact:
Patty Talasy at email@example.com or Mary Lessig at firstname.lastname@example.org
To find the book “Share the Care” go to: Amazon.com. NB: It is best to have it sent to a U.S. or Canadian address and bring it down yourself or have someone else bring it down to Manzanillo for you. MBE charge an “arm and a leg” for bringing parcels from Laredo and via MexPost, the book may take longer to arrive than the patient needs help.