Paul is the primary caregiver to his wife Joan. Their lives were turned upside down after Joan had a terrible fall while on vacation and hit her head badly. Her fall caused a chain of reactions that included: two emergency brain surgeries, 3 strokes, 3 grand mal seizures and countless months in hospitals, rehab centres and therapies. Paul was kind and willing to share this thoughts and experiences, in the hope that his story will help other men.
Paul believes that women are more natural and better as caregivers than men. Traditionally, it has been men that have been the family providers and women have been the nurturers. Being a caregiver was a new role, one that he was never trained to do. Actually, Paul never liked going to hospitals before Joan’s accident. Now in the last year, he has spent countless weeks and months staying by her bedside, attending each theory session and doctor appointment.
“It’s tough to be a caregiver. I have had to deal with a full range of emotions from being lonely, bitter, sad and the real chance that I could lose my wife” explains Paul. There were many days that he felt sorry for himself until as he describes it: “In my mind, I flipped a switch”. I realized that my purpose was to do everything possible to take care of Joan and keep her safe.” Paul’s new found role was clear. Joan had to be the focus of everything. This significant mind-set change helped Paul to manage their day-to day lives, be Joan’s strongest advocate, manage visits with friends, manage some hired help and decide what news to share with family and friends. He continues to be the “gate keeper” to keep Joan as healthy and safe as possible. His new found attitude especially was helpful when Joan was very frustrated with her abilities after her strokes.
Paul was very thankful for the helped received mostly from Joan’s sister Lyn and her female friends. Paul used his business skills to manage appointments, visits, medications and running their household. Paul learned to cook, clean and do laundry. Paul also acknowledges the advantages of being retired to allow him the time to focus on Joan.
“Where is my north star”? “Where are we headed as a couple and where is Joan headed?” These are powerful questions that Paul always asks himself. These questions have helped him deal with today and plan for the future. Their world is getting better with every improvement that Joan makes. Paul is rightly, very proud of his efforts and knows that his love, on-going support and being Joan’s strongest advocate have helped her improve dramatically. Paul is an amazing man and a role model of strength, stamina, commitment and love for his wife. Joan is a very lucky women to have Paul as her husband.
We hope you agree that Paul is a true Caregiver Hero.