Barb: caring for a son with a brain injury

I have my son, and he has made a miraculous recovery.

I have been the main caregiver of my son, who suffered a catastrophic brain injury in an accident four years ago.

The first thing that comes to mind about being the main caregiver for my son is the blessing of love, closeness, bonding and devotion that I’ve had the privilege of experiencing. There are no words to describe the many blessings granted me for that time with my son. It was as if he was a newborn all over again and I had a second chance with him.

He also remembers who was there for him at the hospital, day in and day out for four months, and it has shown him that family are truly the most important people in your life. What a gift that is.

The next thing that comes to mind is exhaustion, fear and anxiety. A brain injury has a very long recovery period, and may last a lifetime. So thinking about the future is not a fun experience for us. We worry who will look after him if we die. We worry if he will ever be able to hold down a job, find a wife or have children. His friends have disappeared since his brain injury, and right now he is alone.

Caregiving demands are huge. It’s not just the care of the person with the brain injury, but dealing with insurance, lawyers and mounds of paperwork; all the time keeping the multiple doctors’ appointments, doctors’ recommendations, and implementing those recommendations; while managing the rest of your family and their needs. Such as bills. Such as school. Such as forms for school. Homework. Meals. Housework. Fun.

Obviously no one person can do all this, but you try to keep all the balls in the air, and before you know it, one ball drops. Maybe two. Maybe more than two.

Jump ahead to now, almost four years later. I am so glad I made the sacrifice. I have my son, and he has made a miraculous recovery. We still have a way to go, but it has really been a miracle. My Faith helped sustain me, as did the prayers of many across the world.

I am tired, exhausted and worn out. But I have learned to reward myself with a weekly hair wash and blow dry from my hair stylist. Every couple of months I treat myself to pedicures or manicures. I now have services in place to help in our weakest areas of need in the home, such as housekeeping and meals, and have set up tutoring for my two daughters. But the best thing we did for all of us was vacation. This summer we all went to the east coast together.

Would I want to do this again? No. But if the situation arose, I would humbly jump in all over again and pray for the best!