An amazing story about caregiving for the disabled at home
Raphael Adams Qualicare Franchise Corporation
Disability: any reduction or lack of ability, caused by impairment, to perform an activity
in a way considered normal for a human being. (World Health Organization)
Perhaps one of the most significant social trends in the last 40 years
(in addition to smoking bans), has been the public accommodation of the
disabled. The goal has been to allow them to live as normal a life as
possible based in their own homes and not institutions. In public, handicapped
facilities are widely available. And a whole industry, both public and
private, had developed that is focused on caring for the disabled at home.
In essence, our society of the abled has finally accepted responsibility
for those who are disabled.
But what happens to the disabled when all of society is disabled, when
the support systems completely shut down?
This is what happened back in October when Hurricane Sandy hit the East
Coast. There were massive power failures, fuel shortages, transportation
shutdowns, catastrophic damage to private and public buildings. The East
Coast was, by WHOs definition, disabled.
For most people, this was an inconvenience. For some people, this was dangerous.
For Nick Dupree, this was a huge, life-threatening crisis.
Nick lives on the 12th floor in a Lower Manhattan apartment. Nick suffers
from mitochondrial myopathy, a neuromuscular disease which makes him dependent
on a ventilator and confined to a wheelchair. For medical reasons, he
could not be evacuated and when the power went out, he needed portable
batteries to maintain the ventilator. Unfortunately these batteries required
re-charging every 3 hours. There was a generator at the Fire Station across
the street, but this required someone to carry the heavy batteries up
and down 12 flights of stairs since the elevator was down.
When they put their dilemma on Facebook, an amazing woman named Crystal
Evans-Pradha, who lived 200 miles away in Boston, decided she had to help.
First she tried to contact various resources like the Red Cross, FEMA
and the Muscular Dystrophy Organization, but they were too overwhelmed
to be able to help someone on the 12th floor. What was needed was a generator
but there were none to be found in the blackout. After much research,
Crystal discovered that a car battery with a special converter could be
used in a pinch. She had to find the right battery and the right converter
for Nicks type of breathing apparatus.
Thanks to Google and facebook and a variety of other social media, she
was in business. Except she didnt have Nicks address. And
Nicks cell was dead. More Googling and finally she and a friend,
Sandi, were able to set out for Manhattan from Boston, picking up vital
supplies, including food and water, on the way. Since the whole area was
without power, this was no simple task. Finally they arrived in Manhattan
and found Nicks building in the darkness. Now came the task of
carrying hundreds of pounds of equipment up twelve flights of stairs.
Did we mention that Crystal is wheel-chair bound? The Fire Department couldnt
or wouldnt help, so Sandi had to make the many trips herself. Nicks
caregiver, who had just arrived, set up the equipment and Nicks
situation improved considerably.
These are just the highlights of a much more complicated story. Read the
whole harrowing story here: http://littlefreeradical.com/2012/10/31/unconventional-aid-helping-nick-dupree-social-networking-style/
The lesson of this story is that we should always considerable the most
vulnerable among us, especially when a crisis hits. Caregiving can sometimes
mean going above and beyond the normal call of duty.