Our Caregiver of the quarter is Jerry Holliday. He celebrated his 80th birthday this year. Jerry has three children, and the youngest is Jeff, who is a member at BIND. Jerry lives with Jeff, who is now 40 years old. He has been widowed since 2009.
Jerry served in the US Army, and then started his career in photocopy printing. He was a proud member of his union for 14 years, and when he moved to Houston, he worked for the Houston Post. Afterwards, he worked in the oil and gas industry, in on and offshore rigs. Jerry has been now retired nine years. Since he wakes up early, he drives UBER a few times a week.
Jerry has two hobbies – bass fishing and golf. He does not get to play as much he wants, due to a leg injury. He also knows a lot about old-time baseball players and events.
On a typical day, Jerry does housework, cooking, and takes care of the yard. You may have seen their new family dog on Facebook. Jerry helps Jeff monitor his medicines. He takes Jeff to the doctor as needed, and now they are concerned about his upcoming MRI.
Jerry is a big fan of BIND. He thinks that Jeff has benefited by getting around people and is excited about getting to run morning meetings and organizing walks. They are both also active in an Ataxia group, While Jeff can be online, his preference is to meet in person.
Be sure to meet Jerry online for the next Caregiver Meeting on August 11 at 2:00 p.m. Congratulations on this honor!
About a year ago I had a hip injury while exercising, so as an athlete, I pushed through the pain for as long as I could. I was nervous to learn that I needed surgery to repair the damage,especially considering my seizure disorder. I finally had the surgery to repair the torn ligament, so that I could get back out on the hiking trails. Fortunately, I had time to prepare for the surgery and this allowed my family and I to make certain preparations beforehand. Knowing the recovery time to be at least 9 months and knowing a disruption to my schedule would be difficult, we planned ahead. Here are a few of the things I learned that were super helpful:
Preparing the body:
I worked with my medical team beforehand– like my neurologist, to try to reduce my seizures and my PT to learn exercises, and how to use assistive devices (like my crutches). I made sure I ate well, drank plenty of fluids and RESTED prior to my big day. I cut back on sugary treats, drank less coffee, and reduced my exercise plans.I wrote down my usual routines, so that I would remember all the important things I do every day, (like taking my meds and making coffee, of course), and so that my partner could help me out. I made a list of all the things for my surgery day so I would be as comfortable as possible (see photo below)
Preparing the mind:
I spoke with a mental health professional about my concerns and fears. For example, what if I have a seizure during my surgery? What if I wake up and can’t remember who I am? How will my behavior affect my relationship with my partner? I increased my mindfulness practices to prepare for hours and days unable to do my normal routines (like meditation with Lynn hosted by BIND on Zoom.) I worked on my patience and how to ask for help. I slowly did less around the house and asked my partner to take over things that I knew I wouldn’t be able to do for months, such as cooking and cleaning.
Preparing the home (I had a lot of help from my partner on this):
We made several frozen meals ahead of time and made sure I had all my medications refilled.
We set up the shower, moved furniture to make space and put things in reach that I might need
We figured out how to get me up and down the stairs, in and out of the house, the bed, the shower and the car.
Preparing with loved ones, friends, and medical staff:
We communicated with family and friends for support, especially if I needed help getting into the house when I got home from the hospital I kept all my medical, dental and PT appointments ahead of time (There were a lot!) I was open and honest with everyone about my medical history so I would get the best care possible.
I am grateful to have had the good fortune to have this surgery and to prepare for it. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to ask questions. The next blog I write will be about what I have learned after the surgery. Stay tuned….
How can a parent forget that a child is locked in a hot car? As I write this, I still cannot believe how this could possibly be.
It happens more than you would ever think. The situation is getting worse, not better. The child’s temperature can rise quickly and die at 107 degrees. They must be cooled off quickly. Between 2018 and 2020, a record number of children (126) died due to vehicular heatstroke. 1
Here are three primary circumstances resulting in deaths of children in hot cars:
A caregiver forgetting a child in a vehicle.
The child gaining access to the vehicle.
Someone knowingly leaving a child in the vehicle.
“NSC advises parents and caregivers to stick to a routine and avoid distractions to reduce the risk of forgetting a child. Place a purse, briefcase or even a left shoe in the back seat to force you to take one last look before walking away. Keep car doors locked so children cannot gain access and teach them that cars are not play areas. There is no safe amount of time to
leave a child in a vehicle, even if you are just running a quick errand.” 2
The first step is to be sure you lock your car door and trunk, where children cannot get in. The second is to be observant, when people look through a car window to see if child is inside. Here are some tips:
“1. Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended — even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running, and the air conditioning is on.
2. Make it a habit to check your entire vehicle — front and back — before locking the door and walking away. Train yourself to Park, Look, Lock, or always ask yourself, “Where’s Baby?“
3. Ask your childcare provider to call if your child does not show up for care as expected.
4. Place a personal item like a purse or briefcase in the back seat, as another reminder to look before you lock. Write a note or place a stuffed animal in the passenger’s seat to remind you that a child is in the back seat.
5. Store car keys out of a child’s reach and teach children that a vehicle is not a play area.”3
I could hardly write this piece. This was very hard for me. You see, my goddaughter was accidentally locked in a car at a mall in Las Cruces, New Mexico when she was only 7 years old. Her Mom put the keys on the seat and lost sight of them I ran to the store to see if I could find a hanger to open the car window. I did, and all went well. Had that not happened, I was ready to break the window.
There are many examples of near-tragedy or worse. Here are three:
In 2019, a Georgia father was convicted of murder after leaving his son in a hot car two summers ago. His 22-month-old toddler was left in a car for seven hours. Jurors believed he left the little boy to die on purpose, and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He was also convicted of eight counts of malice murder, felony murder, cruelty to children in the first and second degree, and sexual exploitation of and dissemination of harmful material to minors. 4
That same year, in Garland, police took a call from a car wash at Jupiter and Arapaho. The temperature was 97 degrees at that time. Witnesses saw the father had parked and was vacuuming his car when he suddenly pulled the limp baby out and appeared frantic. Employees at the car wash said they saw a driver go through the wash, park his car, and start vacuuming. They said 10 or 15 minutes later, they saw him running. The 9-month-old girl was found dead 5
Close to home, I know a man well from my own church and Masonic Lodge who was fortunate. Distracted by a change in their morning routine, he left his 3-year-old son, Michael, asleep in the back seat of the car when he returned home on June 10, 2015. He is now well, but behind in several areas in his development. As a result, he and his wife have presented this story to several audiences, including television appearances. “It can happen to you,” he said. “I was the guy that spent an awful lot of time beating up on the internet parents that bad things happen to”. She urged parents “to check the back seat every time, even when you know you don’t have your kids with you, and you are positive they are not there. Look in the back seat just to make sure, because the moment that you think you’re safe could be the moment that you’re not. That moment can get away from you, and if you’re not fortunate – as fortunate as we were – you’re going to live with the consequences for the rest of your life.” 6
I wish I did not feel this way. I am a forgiving person. I just cannot get past this. Everyone is entitled to make mistakes. But, I cannot see how, even as busy or distracted as someone can be, what is so pressing that a child is forgotten. I welcome any comments that our readers wish to offer,
The Brain Injury Network of Dallas (BIND) provides supportive services for adult survivors of acquired brain injury and joins the gap between medical rehabilitation and independent, contributing community living.
Our mission is to provide tools and a bridge of support to adult brain injury survivors so they can reconnect into life, the community and the workplace. Our vision is to lead the DFW area in providing member-driven services and will serve as the model for Brain Injury Clubhouses across the state of Texas.