Caregivers Community

Caring For Chelsea: A Single Dad’s Story

Gina Flores
Caregiver Advocate | Shield HealthCare
06/13/12  9:48 PM PST

Caregiver Story Spotlight | Shield HealthCare “What Makes Caregiving Rewarding?” Story Contest

Story by Arthur B.

My name is Arthur and I am a single father of three kids. My wife passed away from breast cancer in January 2005. I have a son, age 21 and twin girls, age 16. One of my twin girls, Chelsea was born with special needs and does not talk. In 2009, she was diagnosed with a very rare and debilitating disease called NMO (Neuromyelitis Optica) or Devic’s Disease. This disease can not only cripple you but it can also cause you to go blind.

Chelsea stopped walking in 2009 and has had three extensive hospital stays of 20+ days. While I do have help for Chelsea, I am responsible for a majority of her care. I get such a joy from working with Chelsea and making sure she has the things she needs. Whether it be your own child or you’re working for someone else, the satisfaction and joy inside that you receive from helping someone else that is unable to help themselves, is very rewarding.

Being a single dad, I’ve had to provide a level of care for my daughter that most men will never experience. It has created a “heightened” level of sensitivity in me toward those with issues and that cannot care for themselves. I’ve also developed an INCREDIBLE respect and admiration for those that provide care professionally on a daily basis.

I’ve been the happiest man in the world in all of 2011, as on January 4th of that year Chelsea went into complete cardiac arrest and eight medical people worked tirelessly to try and revive her and all seemed lost. The  doctors were telling me the BAD news, when all of a sudden they were able to get a heartbeat and the rest is HISTORY. Those emergency medical personnel at the hospital worked so hard to save my daughter. I am forever indebted.

Going forward with baby boomers coming of age, good care is going to be very important.