The following days after my injury are mostly a blur due to the pain medication I was on but the morning I was scheduled for surgery, one moment stands vividly clear! As I was being pushed to the operating room, I looked at my mom and said, “We’ve got a lot of tough days ahead, huh?” Mom just smiled at me as the tears flowed down her cheeks. I then said, “Well, let’s just hope our bad days aren’t on the same day.” Ironically, I had no idea what that would mean to me later!
I truly believe caregivers are sent straight from God. They have to be. It takes a special person to deal with the issues involved with an injury like mine. There are those days that nothing feels right. There are days that you just can’t sit inside any longer. And there are days you prefer to just lay in bed. There are nights when you can’t sleep because you’re hot or cold. And it’s not like I could just reach down for cover or throw it off me either! It’s a never ending roller-coaster of emotions and a constant battle to encourage morale and then you have the whole medical side! There are medications, catheters, bowel programs, and the constant fear of pressure sores.
I consider myself very lucky. In almost 10 years of paralysis, I’ve had a total of one pressure sore and can count on one hand the number of infections I’ve had. I attribute this miraculous fate to constant attention to detail and the fact that I’m very rare in the paralysis world in that I have a great deal of feeling. Then there is the biggest reason that I’m healthy…I have an amazing caregiver in my mom and supported by an incredible support system in my family.
Now, some ask if it’s odd having my mom take care of me but in my case it’s not. I’ve always been very close to my parents and my family so we all are pretty much attached. My Mom and I live by ourselves and she takes care of me full-time. My Grandmother lives just down the street and fills in anytime we need her. My Dad isn’t far away and is available basically anytime I need him. My sister and brother-in-law live in Texas but have made their home accessible to me and do anything they can to help as well. Then there’s the extensive list of friends that we consider family that help us.
All caregivers are special in their own way. I’ll never be able to repay the debt I owe to the ones who care for me each day and this weighs on me heavily. I’m a big guy and moving me or dressing me or anything is an effort. But they do it, day-in and day-out. I can only hope they each know the amount of appreciation I have towards each of them.
I know I’m not the only lucky person in this world with great caretakers! Share with me your stories….