One day, while flying to Atlanta on Delta Airlines, (Duh,Everything Leaves Through Atlanta), I discovered that flight attendants state the best advice for caregivers—all day long:
“In the unlikely event of the loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling. Securely place your mask on first, before helping anyone next to you who may need assistance.”
That small directive, which I call the “Delta Doctrine,” contains applicable wisdom for so many circumstances— but probably none as poignant as for those of us serving as a caregiver for a chronically ill or disabled loved one.
Have you noticed that they don’t tell you how to open the peanuts or pretzels—which are surprisingly difficult? Nor do they explain how to use the atomic suction device known as a lavatory. I suppose they think we will just figure those things out on our own! But every flight attendant, pilot, and every government and civilian entity associated with flying will remind us to put our masks on first.
Because they know it’s counter-intuitive to human beings. When a loved one is in peril, we simply throw caution to the wind and race in to help.
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