Caregivers SPEAK OUT! . . . . . Charity Hamilton (caregiver for momma)
Caregivers SPEAK OUT! Charity Hamilton
(caregiver for her momma)
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)
Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, USA
3. What is the brain-injury survivor’s relationship to you?
The survivor is my momma. 🙂
How old was the survivor when he/she had the brain injury? What caused your survivor’s brain injury?
My mother’s affliction is brain cancer and seizures. It was diagnosed in 2012 when she was seen after a car accident. (She didn’t remember what happened.) The hospital was going to let her leave, but we demanded a CT (computerized tomography) scan and an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), as her husband (now deceased) knew something was wrong. That’s when the cancer was found. It had apparently started as a child!
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 became my mother’s only caregiver in 2016, as her husband helped care for her, but he recently passed due to bad health. I am now her full-time caregiver. I am 24.
5. Were you caring for anyone else at that time (e.g., children, parents, etc.)?
I have three beautiful children of my own, whom I care for.
6. Were you employed at the time of your survivor’s brain injury? If so, were you able to continue working?
I was then and am now a full-time employee.
7. Did you have any help? If so, what kind and for how long?
I had no help after my mother’s husband passed.
8. When did your support of the survivor begin (e.g., immediately – in the hospital; when the survivor returned home; etc.)?
I began care immediately after my mother was diagnosed.
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?
My mother had no rehab.
11. What problems or disabilities of your brain-injury survivor required your care, if any?
My care was needed whenever my mother had seizures. I also helped her deal with memory loss. I assisted her with medications, and I helped her with showers.
12. How has your life changed since you became a caregiver? Is it better? Is it worse?
With everything I have on my plate, my life is complicated and very busy. Only brain-injury-caregivers truly understand.
13. What do you miss the most from pre-brain-injury life?
I miss not being so busy!
14. What do you enjoy most in p
I enjoy talking to mom and going out and about with her.
15. What do you like least about brain injury?
I don’t like the tons of errands and feeling like the parent.
16. Has anything helped you to accept your survivor’s brain injury?
Caregiving came naturally because she’s my mother and I would never let her be alone.
17. Has your survivor’s injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?
Yes. My mother’s brain injury has made home-life and relationships tough and stressful sometimes, as they don’t understand I HAVE to care for my mother – no one else will.
18. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?
Not really. I didn’t have a social life before my mother’s diagnosis.
19. What are your plans? What do you expect/hope to be doing ten years from now?
My future is nursing.
20. What advice would you offer other caregivers of brain-injury survivors? Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
(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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