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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