Yesterday I went with my mom to a care conference for my dad. I went with her to one of these conferences before, when he was going off Medicare and being considered for permanent nursing home care.
It wasn't a long conference, but it was interesting, and hopeful, for a couple of reasons.
First, the different caregivers reported the different things they do for my dad, and what he can do for himself. I got to hear how he's doing. For awhile he seemed to be crabby and critical, not really happy. But now they are reporting that he is happy and social. There are a group of men he likes to gather with and talk to. They all say they like him and enjoy working with them. I felt like they were really talking about my dad, the guy I grew up with. They also said that the infection that he has had off and on for many months is gone now.
The other thing I noticed was my mom. I noticed that when the caregivers said he practiced once a day walking with his walker, she said, "Didn't he used to practice twice a day? he seems better when he gets to walk twice a day. He's stronger then." So the aides and nurses marked and agreed that he would get a chance to walk twice a day.
She asked about when he would get to see the doctor, and encouraged them to clip his fingernails more often when he had a bath. At every turn she was vigilant to make sure that my dad was getting the kind of care he needed, so that he could live with dignity.
She is his advocate.
On Sunday we will celebrate Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit, the creation of the church. Given the dramatic nature of the story, I always wish we could whoop it up a little more in church on Pentecost. The coming of the Holy Spirit is a Big Deal, a Bigger Deal than we make of it, a big deal for our day to day lives as well.
The Holy Spirit goes by many names. Helper, Comforter, Counselor. Spirit of Life, Paraclete. There are many names for the Holy Spirit.
Today I'm just interested in one, though: Advocate.