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Caregiver Dad from Boulder, CO Wins Story Contest Grand Prize

Gina Flores
Caregiver Advocate | Shield HealthCare
01/12/12  5:54 PM PST

Congratulations to Howard R., caregiver for his daughter in Boulder, Colorado

Howard was one of three caregivers awarded the $1,000 grand prize in Shield HealthCare’s 11th annual “What Makes Caregiving Rewarding?” Story Contest.

Howard’s Winning Story:

I’m thinking “OK, where are the Grape Nuts this week?” Just about everything is now checked off my Costco list. I’m moving at a quick pace. I have just enough time to race home to get Edie’s breathing treatments and stretching exercises done before I administer her anti-seizure medicine. Wait, did I already do that before I left the house? The gears in my head are trying to engage when my personal space is shattered.

“You are so brave.” I hear these words, but cannot process who has said them or where they are being directed. My mind returns to the wide aisle, where I am standing. There is a diminutive, grey-haired woman standing just a little too close to me. She acknowledges my blank look and says, “That takes so much courage”. My first thought is, “Why is using a grocery list courageous?” Then I notice that this sweet intruder has my daughter’s right arm cradled in her own, time-worn hands. Her eyes are locked, as well as they can be, with my daughter Edie’s. She does not seem to notice Edie’s oxygen, or feeding tube or sparkling blue wheelchair.

As Edie and this stranger are sharing a moment that has nothing to do with me, I wonder if I would allow someone I don’t know to have such intimate contact with my sixteen-year-old daughter if she were typical. Then I see Edie’s pale blue eyes. She cannot speak with words, but her eyes are screaming “I love this woman.” Now it all makes sense, this woman had been praising me for bringing my daughter to Costco. How odd. I know this is meant as a compliment, but it is difficult to accept. When I look at my daughter, I see her for who she is and nothing more. I don’t see myself as anything more than a father. While their impromptu love affair continues, I think back to years ago when our grocery shopping needed to be done very late at night because too much stimulation would have sent Edie into a screaming frenzy that was very difficult to turn around. It took months for Edie to even tolerate riding in her wheelchair. My wife, Jennifer, and I would take turns cradling and rocking our daughter every night, throughout the night, because she would not sleep for more than three hours at a stretch. Now, Edie loves to be where the action is. There was a time, that someone touching Edie as is currently happening could have ruined our day. That is no longer the case.

This current exchange is another reminder of how far our little angel has come. Edie is such an integral part of our lives that we don’t see her as different. Moments like this one are a reminder that we lead a slightly different existence than most. And what a gift it is. I wait, patiently, while these two finish having their time together.

I check out and realize that I don’t know this woman’s situation and she does not know mine, but because I am a care provider, I have been blessed by her good will. The smile on Edie’s face makes me happier than I can express in words. I am the lucky one. How many dads run a simple errand and leave feeling better about their lives?

 

Click here to read all winning stories on shieldhealthcare.com

Just announced: Shield HealthCare’s Readers’ Choice Contest.  Vote for YOUR favorite caregiving story from the 12 contest finalists! Click here to cast your vote now. (Voting ends 1/31/12)

Comments

2 Comments

  1. Posted January 12, 2012 at 6:44 pm PST

    That’s a beautiful story. I love that it was written by Dad. It’s so nice to hear a Father’s heart towards his child and to see a father
    Care for his child.

  2. Posted January 12, 2012 at 6:46 pm PST

    Thank you, Esther for sharing your thoughts on this story. We couldn’t agree more.

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