blankblankAfter the Storm

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After Ed was injured in a crime (from a gunshot), I found it necessary to adapt quickly to several changes in my life. Not only was I a young city-born woman about to begin married life in the country, but my husband-to-be was now paralyzed from the waist down. He had suffered a permanent T1 – T2 spinal cord injury in the shooting.

As many couples have done when one becomes disabled, we struggled together and learned along the way. During the weeks immediately following Ed’s injury, we received lots of help from relatives and friends in the community. A ramp was built, an accessible bathroom installed, a sidewalk poured, and a van with a wheelchair lift was purchased. Church members, merchants, the local vocational rehabilitation service, family and friends, and even those unknown to us came to our rescue.

Such an outpouring of community spirit and thoughtfulness was indeed both touching and humbling. I had always found asking for assistance very hard to do. But in such a situation, you soon admit you can’t do everything. You learn that occasionally you must swallow your pride and request help. Usually, the assistance given initially tapers off after a few weeks. This doesn’t mean people have deserted you. It just means others are busy with their own lives. Family and friends will still respond to your needs, although it may not come as quickly as you wish.

As a caregiver, you soon learn there are a number of responsibilities to shoulder. Time is always at a premium, and the many tasks you must perform require a great deal of energy if you are to keep up. The trick is not to let the job overwhelm you. An exhausted caregiver becomes inefficient. So look for someone (or several someones) to provide you a break from the routine.

Some people find caregiving easier than others. Those who bring a cheerful, energetic spirit to the task each day are blessed and deserve our praise. After all, caregiving is one of the most Christian acts an individual can perform. And doing it on a daily basis, with patience and love, is certainly giving of oneself.

Along the way, you learn it is much easier to help others because of what you have been through. As a registered nurse, I can now provide more understanding and support to others. Often, just listening is one way to help those undergoing difficult times.

~ By Debbie Bell, wife of Ed Bell

 

 
 

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