Caregivers SPEAK OUT! Raine Turner,
(mother of survivor, Ryan, and author of “Only Son…Only Child”)
Donna O’Donnell Figurski
1. What is your name? (last name optional)
2. Where do you live? (city and/or state and/or country) Email? (optional)
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
3. What is the brain-injury survivor’s relationship to you? How old was the survivor when he/she had the brain injury? What caused your survivor’s brain injury?
The brain-injury survivor is my son. At 16, he was in a car accident.
4. On what date did you begin care for your brain-injury survivor? Were you the main caregiver? Are you now? How old were you when you began care?
I began care August 13, 2003.
5. Were you caring for anyone else at that time (e.g., children, parents, etc.)?
6. Were you employed at the time of your survivor’s brain injury? If so, were you able to continue working?
I was self-employed and unable to manage my business.
7. Did you have any help? If so, what kind and for how long?
8. When did your support of the survivor begin (e.g., immediately – in the hospital; when the survivor returned home; etc.)?
In the hospital
9. Was your survivor in a coma? If so, what did you do during that time?
Yes. I sat beside my son’s bed and read to him.
10. Did your survivor have rehab? If so, what kind of rehab (i.e., inpatient and/or outpatient and occupational, physical, speech, and/or other)? How long was the rehab? Where were you when your survivor was getting therapy?
Yes. My son had rehab both as an inpatient and an outpatient.
11. What problems or disabilities of your brain-injury survivor required your care, if any?
At first, self-care. Also eating, walking, etc.
12. How has your life changed since you became a caregiver? Is it better? Is it worse?
Trick question. It made me realize what is important in life. It taught me patience, which I did not know I had.
13. What do you miss the most from pre-brain-injury life?
I dislike my son’s loss of the chance for a normal life. I miss having a relationship for myself.
14. What do you enjoy most in post-brain-injury life?
15. What do you like least about brain injury?
My son’s daily struggles
16. Has anything helped you to accept your survivor’s brain injury?
There is no choice but to accept.
17. Has your survivor’s injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?
Yes. I did not have a relationship at all for ten years. The one I had at the time ended due to stress. It’s now hard to find someone who wants to be involved with this situation.
18. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?
Yes. But it’s getting better now with my son in school and his not living with me.
19. What are your plans? What do you expect/hope to be doing ten years from now?
I hope to be on a beach!
20. What advice would you offer other caregivers of brain-injury survivors? Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
Buckle up! It is going to be a long, tough ride.
(Disclaimer: The views or opinions in this post are solely that of the interviewee.)
If you would like to be a part of the SPEAK OUT! project, please go to TBI SPEAK OUT! Caregiver Interview Questionnaire for a copy of the questions and the release form.
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