Caregivers SPEAK OUT!
Malissa Mallett (caregiver for her son)
Donna O’Donnell Figurski
“Malissa Mallett will be my guest tomorrow (Sunday, February 17) on my radio show (Another Fork in the Road) on the Brain Injury Radio Network. She has been caregiver for her son, who had an anoxic brain injury, since 1997, when he was an infant. Malissa is Program Director for the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona (BIAAZ). We will discuss caring for her son and the effect of her expertise (opioid use on the brain.) My show broadcasts live at 5:30 PT (blogtalkradio.com/braininjuryradio), or it can be heard as a podcast anytime (https://survivingtraumaticbraininjury.com/category/on-the-air-show-menu/).”
1. What is your name? (last name optional)
2. Where do you live? (city and/or state and/or country) Email? (optional)
Laveen, Arizona, USA Program@biaaz.org
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 survivor is my son. He was 2 months old. His brain injury was caused by aspiration, causing him to stop breathing (anoxic brain injury).
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?
My care began in April 1997. I was 22 years old. I was my son’s main caregiver then, but I’m not now.
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 had just returned to work after giving birth. I was not able to continue working, since my son required 24-hour supervision for his heart and lung monitor.
7. Did you have any help? If so, what kind and for how long?
Occasionally. My family, who were trained in CPR, would care for my son to give me a break or a night out.
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?
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?
11. What problems or disabilities of your brain-injury survivor required your care, if any?
This is difficult to answer given my son’s age at the time of his brain injury.
12. How has your life changed since you became a caregiver? Is it better? Is it worse?
My life was challenging all throughout my son’s life.
13. What do you miss the most from pre-brain-injury life?
I will never know what could have been.
14. What do you enjoy most in post-brain-injury life?
Does not apply
15. What do you like least about brain injury?
The lack of understanding in the community
16. Has anything helped you to accept your survivor’s brain injury?
17. Has your survivor’s injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?
Yes, it has. We can discuss this on your radio show. It’s too much to explain here.
18. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?
19. What are your plans? What do you expect/hope to be doing ten years from now?
I would love for my son to be successful and independent.
20. What advice would you offer other caregivers of brain-injury survivors? Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
Take care of yourself.
Be surrounded by supportive people.
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