My Life at a Glance
I have been a caregiver all my life, beginning with younger siblings as my mother's helper. In the fifth grade, I gave up every recess to help out in the kindergarten. I began babysitting in the neighborhood when I was eleven. At seventeen, I became a nanny to three little girls and I stayed with them for two years. I am a mother of four and grandmother of five.
In 1992, I cared for my mother during the last months of her life. I learned to work with a colostomy bag back when they were held in place with a thick glue-like substance. (My mother used to comment that I could change them better than most nurses)
Twenty years later, I relocated to the Portland area and found myself working in an assisted living facility as a server in the dinning room. I guess I had never really spent much time with the elderly, because I did not know how much I liked them. Wanting to do more than just serve meals, I trained to become a caregiver. This is where I got the bulk of my experience - over a thousand hours of intense, hands-on work, covering the busy floors where the residents lived.
As I put on my scrubs, preparing to face another busy day - I felt that I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing with my life - helping others.
In 2014, when my sister entered her final stage of cancer, I used my experience to provide (24/7) care during her last six weeks of life. I managed her medications, passing them 4 times a day including PRN every 2-3 hours. I dressed complicated wounds and gained experience in stopping excessive blood loss. I helped with household tasks, meals, pet care and spiritual comfort. I worked closely with the Hospice staff, gleaning as much knowledge as I could.
I have been in Home Care ever since.