Friday, April 22, 2011

I am Caregiver, Hear Me ROAR!

I am Caregiver, Hear me ROAR! I have come to the conclusion that I need to adopt a fight song!  Something that will keep me charging on, as my batteries wear down while performing my Caregiver duties here at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC.
What brought me to this conclusion was a comment made to me today, as I stood positioned next to my injured soldier as she worked out at the Walter Reed Military Army Advanced Training Center (MAT-C). For those of you not familiar, MAT-C is the center of activity for our Wounded Warriors who have broken or lost limbs and also suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
For the past nine months, I have accompanied my daughter; a soldier injured in Afghanistan, to appointments for her multiple injuries. Accompanied is not the best word to describe what I have done as a Caregiver, that is a subject for another time.
A gentleman came up to me and told me how great my daughter looked and that her recovery was remarkable. He said, “This place [MAT-C] does amazing things.” I looked back at him stunned, as I was performing my Caregiver duties…catching my daughter as she proceeded to fall off the exercise machine
Tired and desperately needing a break from the stress of Caregiving, I said to him firmly and loudly, “It’s because of me, my hard work and being her Caregiver, that is why she is progressing as well as she is.” He was taken back by my immediate response, as was I. Oh well, I was just having a bad day…tired, exhausted and obviously not wearing my Army Mom hat which is a clue to avoid me at all costs.
My point is…I’m tired of being INVISIBLE and not getting the credit - really, recognition - for helping in her recovery. I have been by her side 24/7 for nine months. She would not have made it to any appointments without my help. And her recovery? Well because her Caregiver believes in holistic approaches that are not part of her treatment plan, she is now progressing very well. By the way, there is no comprehensive treatment plan—I am still awaiting one.
So now when I start to get tired or feel that my work is INVISIBLE, I have adopted a tune that plays over and over in my head. Thanks to Helen Reddy and Ray Burton for the inspiration from I Am Woman.  Insert Caregiver for Woman in the song, and you'll see what I mean. Maybe you would like to think about adopting the song as well, or perhaps we create one on our own. Whatever works to make it through the day, right?  Let me know your thoughts!


  1. Firstly, much respect for your daughter and thanks to her for serving this great country of ours. It's a tremendous honor to be able to serve.

    Secondly, caregivers deserve absolute respect and should be noticed for the work they do. It's a shame that the recognition is lacking by individual, but it's quite obvious that the work caregivers offer is tremendous. At a local senior living and rehabilitation facility, they encourage caregivers like yourself to share their story in the hopes of community building and providing knowledge to fellow caregivers.

  2. Thank you so much for your post, for your Blog and most of all for your care for your daughter and your willingness to speak up loud and clear about caregivers. We caregivers have lived in the shadows long enough. Yes, it is time we stepped into the limelight - our OWN limelight - for what we do and what we have achieved for the ones we care for.
    Comprehensive treatment plans are up to us. Sad fact, but we cannot afford to wait for someone else to do them. Yet that is another burden on the caregiver.
    Blessings to you and prayers for increasing recovery for your daughter.

  3. i so appreciate your willingness to speak up. when the mission of love in any form is diminished to the point of people feeling invisible there is a problem.
    your daughter is truly blessed to have you.
    so much love...