My cerebral palsy is severe enough for me to be considered a quadriplegic. This means that I have no or limited use of all four of my limbs. I am unable to stand or transfer using weight bearing. My left hand is more of a helper hand and I have greater, but not normal use of my right hand. Because of this, I am unable to effectively perform daily task. This means I need to rely on caregivers to assist me with personal cares, meals, transportation, apartment maintenance and much more.
Due to the fact of my extensive needs, I have to have a great deal of trust in my caregivers. If a caregiver does not show up in the morning, I may be trapped in my bed until someone can come. This happened in the past when my mom went out of town and a caregiver not only did not show up, but never called to let her know. My mom had to head back to town and luckily another caregiver was able to come over until she got home. This does not happen often, but it does. It makes me angry when this happens because a person should never be neglected or abused in this kind of situation. It scares me too. Actually, it brings about all sorts of feelings.
On the bright side there are caregivers that come into your life who over time become friends and then they become family. Adam is that caregiver. Adam started working for me in September of 2012. From the start I thought he was very nice and outgoing. As time went by, we became closer and closer. I wanted to use this posting to let the world know what a special person he is.
Adam has dedicated his life to helping those in need. He works full time at a group home for disabled adults and then works part time for me. Because of his experience, he really did not need to be trained to care for me. His work ethic is exceptional. He is always on time and very dependable. Adam has come to my rescue multiple times when he was not scheduled. I believe Adam when he says he would do all of this for no pay if he could afford to.
He is a kind and very loyal caregiver. Adam’s youthful spirit and energy makes time with him enjoyable. He is very energetic and has a youthful spirit. Adam gets me out doing things I normally would not have tried, like going to the arcade and riding around town in his Mustang Convertible. Every year we make a point to go to the Cultural Fest in Stevens Point. Through these experiences, he has become my brother from another mother.
A part of my cares requires me to physically rely on others for my safety. This is huge and at times can be scary. I have never felt anything but safe with Adam. He is gentle, patient and kind. Adam is able to empathize with my physical situation.
He also tries to encourage me to reach my limits of independence. I tend to be an introvert and am more comfortable just staying close to home. Adam encourages me to get out and meet people. I feel this benefits my life in all sorts of ways. Becoming more comfortable socializing has given me confidence. Who knows, maybe I will even give dating a try! I have Adam to thank for this.
Adam is one of those rare people who sees me, not my wheelchair. He jokes with me like he would any other 23 year old man. I have never felt like a patient or a number with Adam. He may not always be my caregiver, but he will always be my friend…my brother.
A Mom’s Perspective: My Name is Sandi and I am Hunter’s mom. I have been Hunter’s main caregiver (at times only caregiver) through his 23 years. One of the hardest things I have to face is the fact I may not always be here to care for him or oversee his cares.
We have been through many caregivers over the past few years and have had our share of bad experiences. We have also had wonderful people come into our lives. Adam is one of those people who allow me to sleep at night. He has been a consistent source of comfort and relief these past few years. He has been there when I have had my meltdowns, when the overwhelming stress has taken over. I have watched him grow as my son has grown. Now that he is a dad, he will understand so much of the feelings I have. (Side note: his baby hit the jackpot in the dad department!) I know that he will one day leave his position on caregiver, a day I do not want to ever have to think about. However, I know that he will always be a part of Hunter’s life and support system.
About two weeks ago Adam brought Hunter to the local pub to watch the Packer game with me. A gentleman asked me if Adam was Hunter’s brother. That speaks volumes to the man he his. The gentleman remarked about the relationship they had and how caring Adam was. I told the gentleman that there were times I felt like I had an extra son. I reflected back to the time when Adam and Hunter decided to shave Hunter’s head bald! These moments may have made other moms cringe, but they bring me so much joy.
Facing the fact that Hunter most likely have to face this world without his mom is still a horrifying reality. I think it is for most parents of disabled children, no matter how old they are. However, the “Adams” of the world give me hope that Hunter will not only “make it” but he will be happy and flourish.
I do not and probably could never thank Adam enough for the support, care and friendship he has brought to Hunter and myself. Thank you, one million times over.