Maggie’s husband was involved in a hit and run accident on the outskirts of Brisbane.
He had many injuries – the most serious was damage to his lower spinal cord that left him paralysed from the chest downwards.
He was immediately airlifted to the Princess Alexandra Hospital where he stayed for 2 weeks before being moved to a specialist rehabilitation hospital for a further 14-week stay.
At the time of the accident, Maggie’s children were just 4 and 2 years old.
In the early weeks, when Maggie was not sure that her husband was going to survive, she wanted to be by his bedside from 8am to 11pm every day.
To make this happen, Maggie needed help looking after her young kids and making sure they had everything they needed while she was at the hospital. She also needed help getting to the hospital as she was so exhausted and emotional that she did not feel it was safe for her to drive. Finally, she also wanted the kids to be able to visit their Dad – but they were young and could not stay long – and so they needed a ‘chaperone’ for their visits so that Maggie could stay and focus on her husband.
It was a lot. A lot of help that was needed and for a long time.
Maggie remembers feeling completely overwhelmed. She was so emotionally drained and lacking in sleep that even the smallest of decisions, such as what to wear each day, became difficult. Any ‘bigger’ decisions, such as working out who to call and ask to look after the kids, were just beyond her.
While Maggie had a large network of love and support – she needed someone to coordinate it all for her and they needed a simple and easy way to do this. No one had hours of time to spare creating spreadsheets and making phone calls…
Maggie’s sister-in-law set up a Gather Group account. She invited all of their friends and family to help out and coordinated (i) people to look after the kids, (ii) people who could drive Maggie to hospital, (iii) people who were cooking meals and preparing food, and a range of other tasks such as visits from friends in hospital, gardening, and light housework.
This care network supported Maggie and her family for more than 6 months – throughout the intense and terrifying time in hospital and then during the early months when Maggie’s husband returned home.
Maggie was in a fog during much of her husband’s recovery and says that the support coordinated via Gather Group “took such a load off and got our family through this terrible experience” – particularly as Maggie says she is the type of person who never wants to ‘inconvenience’ anyone and is normally terrible at asking for help.
Sometimes, the ONLY way we can get through life is with the support of our friends and family. When these extreme events happen, those in the ‘eye of the storm’ can become frozen. Unable to reach out for help or know where to begin. If you come across a situation like this, you can be the person that makes a difference and creates a Gather Group personal care network. You do not need to wait for someone else before you can do something meaningful.
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