I’ve Been Where You Are Now
I understand how a new caregiver feels. I’ve stood at that same door of uncertainty and felt the tidal wave of anxiety roll over me as I wondered what lay ahead. Over the past thirty years, I have experienced first-hand caregiving during four major family life events.
- As a mother caring for my child who had both physical and mental health care needs crippling her ability to function,
- As a grown daughter supporting her parents while they lived with her and Lynn while her mother received chemotherapy for cancer. Later, she supported her father long distance when her Mom decided to stop chemo and go into hospice at home with her father becoming her primary caregiver,
- Again as a daughter, when her father moved in with her and Lynn after developing medical issues that needed ongoing support from a caregiver, and
- As a wife caring for a husband diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (primary progressive), he changed from being able to master anything life threw at him to not being able to scratch an itch on his arm.
I graduated from nursing school in 1978 and worked in or around healthcare until 2018. I had a unique healthcare career. It allowed me to experience a multitude of specialties and gain expertise in areas few are fortunate to experience. Looking back, it expanded my fundamental knowledge base in remarkable ways. The unique skills and abilities acquired filled the needs eventually thrust upon me by the future demands of my family care needs. Through my faith, I realized that God set me on a path to gain the necessary abilities throughout my life. He orchestrated the timeline of my training versus the need for the skill to ensure both matched perfectly. God was in control.
My Professional Experience
Through my many challenging personal experiences, I gained vast knowledge and insight into family caregiving. However, I was fortunate because God prepared me ahead of time and equipped me with the skills I needed to survive.
Work Experience (Roles Held)
- Staff Registered Nurse (Emergency Department, Medical Units, Intensive Care, Home Health, Psychiatric Department, Chemical Dependency, Surgery Unit).
- Infection Control Nurse Manager
- Employee Health Nurse Manager
- Human Resources Management
- Two children with medical or mental health conditions.
- Spouse with primary progressive multiple sclerosis and multiple co-morbidities.
- Father-in-law with end-stage cancer (assisted with coordination of care).
- Mother with cancer.
- Father with heart disease.
- Two grandsons with developmental and medical conditions and four granddaughters with medical conditions, one with complex care requirements.