Thursday, September 22, 2011

Q&A: On Traveling, and Caregivers

The number one question I get asked about traveling out of town for work:

Who takes care of Michael when you're not there? Do you hire caregivers?

Answer:  It's a combination of this: He takes care of himself/friends/yes.

Here's the thing.  Michael is very independent, especially for someone with his level of injury (C5/6 quadriplegia).  Once he is up in his chair, he can take care of everything else, himself.  I'm so very proud of him for this!

He can fix his own meals, take care of his own hair and teeth and pills and what not in the bathroom, take care of the dogs, clean up after himself (and the dogs), run to Target if he needs anything... I mean, the list is endless.  And, he's all the time figuring out new things that he can do on his own.  He is amazing, I tell you!

So, he really only needs help getting up in the morning, and getting to bed at night.  He just can't lift himself from one place to another.  It's not the kind of thing he can McGuyver.  Just doesn't have those muscles.  He's a pretty low maintenance quadriplegic, though!

When I am out of town, we hire home health providers to help him get bathed, dressed and transfer him from bed to wheelchair in the morning.  They will also help him go to the bathroom, if that is necessary on that particular day.  In the evening, friends help him get transferred from wheelchair to bed. 

Michael takes care of arranging all of his care.  I think after about 9 months of this, I have finally caught on to the idea that I don't have to worry about it! I try to not ask too many questions. :)

Sometimes, friends will come over for dinner, or Michael will hang out with them somewhere else, then they'll come back to our place, and "toss him" in the bed.  I cannot express how thankful I am to these friends!  You know who you are, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!  Then, in the morning, the home health care providers come and get him up. 

We have this system down now.  There are still a lot of "R U OK?" and "Up and at 'em." text messages that fly between the two of us, though.

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