Whoa. June has been a whirlwind, and it's only half over.
It all started back in April when my bosses asked if I would be available to spend two weeks at one of our call centers to help train tech support on the new product. I chose Burlington, Ontario for the daily non-stop flight from Austin. You know, just in case. Then the planning started.
Since BR's diagnosis, the longest we've been apart was 8 days. With this trip, I'm doubling it to 16. For each of those days, he needs someone to help him with the morning and bedtime routines, with meals, and spend the night on-call in case something happens. Sounds pretty much like 24 hour care, huh?
In the past, I've adjusted his paid caregiver's hours to cover the morning and bedtime routines, and then asked family and friends to stay with him until I returned. But who's going to be available for 16 days? Nobody we know. By June 1st, we had all but 4 days covered. But then it became necessary to part ways with the paid caregiver. It was a mutual parting, but still ...
The search was on for a new personal care agency. After 2 days of calling 6 services, I finally found one that a) accepted private pay clients, and b) accepted clients under 55. They cost 50% more than the previous agency, refused to do wound care, and warned us that they would likely need to schedule 2 different caregivers to cover all the shifts.
Try 7. By last Wednesday, I realized that there was no way I was going to leave BR with a constant parade of unfamiliar caregivers. Then a miracle occurred.
I had spoken with my sister Cindy about how we were hiring a new agency, and made a passing comment that I would much rather pay one of her daughters to come care for BR. Well that Wednesday she called and said my niece Jordan was interested in helping out. Jordan is 19, beautiful, and stronger than I am. With BR's approval, I quickly wrote up a Live-in Caregiver Agreement so that Jordan would know what she was getting into. That evening she agreed, and I bought her a ticket to fly down on Friday.
Two days of intensive training later, I was on a flight to Toronto. But not before getting to spend a day with aunt Beth, Dede, and surprise guest cousin Paige.