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Finding the Best Care for a Loved One in a Coma 


 The Caregiver

(or, I can't stop crying).

Subtitle: The other side of life with TBI


everything is so hard

and I don't even have a tbi

but my life does have one

I'm the caregiver, a tear in my eye


mother of six, from one to fourteen

wife of tbi survivor,

mother of plenty


the caregiver

the caregiver


mommy, I need help

mommy, it hurts

mommy, I can't find any clean cups

mommy, I need some money

mommy, I need a ride to my friend's house

mommy, the TV won't work

mommy, she's hurting me

he took my toy

mommy, I need help with my homework

mommy, I don't wanna go to sleep

please read a book to me


wifey, where are my clothes

wifey, I can't find socks without holes

wifey, I need a pencil

wifey, I can't figure this out

wifey, I have to tell you this now before I forget it

wifey, I hurt, can you take the kids now

wifey, my neck hurts too much to do dishes, laundry, housekeeping

wifey, why is this place such a mess


The dishes are piling up

the laundry is piling up

its time to get the kids dressed now

where are their shoes

they made it to the bus on time

but I forgot to wash their faces


there's no food left

we go to the grocery store

I take all the kids with me cuz daddy has been

having seizures all day

it takes an hour and a half to get through the store


sorry, we can't take your check

a check of yours bounced three days ago

for the food you bought two weeks ago

you probably didn't get the notice yet

sorry too bad no slack no authority to approve this

the computer is in charge

I don't have time to go to another grocery store now

I have to go home

to get the prescriptions I forgot to bring

and get back to town to the pharmacy before it closes

they must be filled today

we go home with no food

the kids are all crying

mommy is crying

mommy can't stop crying

my eyelids are like windshield wipers as I drive home


we have french toast. it tastes good. I actually laugh.


but there's no time for this

there's work to be done

there's a new business, with clients expecting their jobs done

last week

should have been done last week last week

business is booming next week next week

I work hard work hard

but can't catch up can't catch up can't catch up

but I know I will get caught up soon

I am catching up

it will take forever

why bother why not give up

one of the kids cracks a good joke

we all laugh

I remember why I try


wifey, did I take my medicine

mommy, I'm hungry

the phone rings

it's the student loan office -

your loans are going into default

you owe us $26,000, now, even though you only borrowed $15,000 (?)

we turned-down your deferment request

you should get a lawyer

mommy, the baby just ripped up my homework


lawyer wants a retainer up front

service agencies offer nothing more than

circuitous referrals leading to circuitous referrals


your mortgage is due

the taxes are due

the car is broken $1000 to fix it

get it towed home... it sits dead for a month

scrape together enough to pay for it


we pay to fix the car

we bounce more checks at the grocery store

the $600 from social security disability helps

a bit with the $800 mortgage

I pay the mortgage

I actually breathe


spend three months trying to organize financial paperwork

three different medical centers are making claims for unpaid bills

$3000 here, $800 there, $2000 there, more somewhere I don't even know

how much do we owe?


you can't get treated here until you pay these old bills

unpaid bills

insurance didn't cover these sorry please pay now or else, sorry

why did you get injured if you couldn't afford it?


the phone rings

it's the guy who just hit and killed our dog

he wants us to pay to fix his car

he got $1200 damage to his car, new hot fast car, fancy popup lights damaged

hitting a 35 pound 8-month old puppy, going 35 miles per hour

instant head-injury death

the kids cry, we all cry, we miss our puppy

we all thank god that daddy didn't get killed in his accident


mommy, where's my coat

I need help tying my shoe

OUCH I fell down - I need a hug I LOVE YOU


I almost stop crying


the kids are all asleep now. it's midnight

I can start working now

my computer is my savior

I can work at home, on my own schedule

my own schedule?

I get lots of work done

Its 3:30 am, I fall asleep fast

7:30 am, time to get up and get the older 4 kids to school

8:30 the bus is gone. it's




8:32 the baby wakes up

9:30 the three year old gets up

phone rings

the e-mail comes in

I get about an hour of work done

while the kids are eating

TV goes on, try to keep them quiet while I make a phone call

11am, oops, its way past time to wake daddy up,

its long past time for his medicine

the phone rings - its another medical bill collector

11:59 what time is it - oh, I've gotta run to meet the school bus

noon the kindergarten bus gets home, lunchtime, read at the table

1pm don't forget to make sure daddy remembers to eat lunch OOPS we need milk

2pm home from the store, a few moments to work ...if the kids behave...

2:45 the highschool bus gets home

3pm the other two kids get home

3:30 please I need some quiet to get some work done

4:00 remind daddy to take his seizure medicine, watch him take it to be sure

4:30 full house is on, the kids are quiet for 27 and a half minutes

5pm time to make dinner

I can't stop crying

I hate to cook

mommy, I can't find my book


mommy, I need help with my homework


mommy, we love you

daddy, we love you

babies, we love you


I stop crying


a tear hides in the corner of my eye


i'll go to a different grocery store tomorrow

June 1996

Peg Larson

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Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.

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