November is National Caregivers Month. A perfect time to start something new here at The World on Wheels.
Welcome to a new occasional series of posts. As you know, our son Tim has cerebral palsy and is severely limited in what he can do physically. As a result, he's very mobility challenged and has to use a wheelchair to get around in.
Tim's been doing an excellent job with his Cerebral Palsy Stories series, trying to explain to us what it's like to be someone who is disabled and has to rely on others for help.
Since I'm one of the "others for help" he must rely on, I thought I'd let you know some of the joys, trials, and challenges of being a caregiver.
Before getting into more details, I just want to first establish a few general ground rules. First, no pity. It's just the way life is for us and we've accepted it and adapted to it. Since Tim was born, we've known no other way so, as life is just normal for you, this is just normal for us.
Second, Tim will vet each of these posts to make sure I don't go too far in each revelation. Whatever you read here, be assured that he is OK with it.
And, lastly, this is tailored for our situation. That is taking care of a child who is now a man that cannot walk, dress himself, or do most of the other self-caring tasks we take for granted. Otherwise, Tim is smart, well educated, can talk for himself.
We make no pretensions on understanding what it's like for other caregivers taking care of special needs persons that we have no experience with. For example, we don't have a clue what it's like living with someone who is on the autistic spectrum, blind, mentally challenged, etc., although I appreciate those who are to comment and help us all to understand those aspects of caregiving also.
So what is a caregiver? Basically, someone who provides care to someone who cannot provide it to themselves be it feeding, bathrooming, dressing, or any number of daily activities we humans have to do for ourselves.
If you're a parent, you know what that includes. Your children were once babies that depended on you for everything. Not all children outgrow that period and some people revert to it via injury, disease, or just aging later in life.
Caregivers can include family members or professional health care aides or even a combination of the two.
I'll just leave it at an introduction this week and delve into some more details in upcoming posts.