How to Take Someone You Love With Parkinson’s Disease to Lunch

I remember the first time I met Linda, my client with Parkinson’s Disease: That morning, I walked up the driveway, and her husband, Dave, strolled out to meet me halfway, eager to introduce himself to his wife’s next potential caregiver.

Next, I met Happy, their black Labrador who pees on the floor every morning when I come in. Just behind the overjoyed lab, sat a frail but giddy gal in the kitchen, smiling at the mahogany wood table, anxiously awaiting to see who had walked through the front door.

We sat at the kitchen table and talked for a while.

Do you want to know what was running through my head?

“Holy crap, I don’t know if I can do this.”

I was scared. Uncomfortable. And I wanted to back out of the shift after a few weeks. Not because I didn’t want to care for Linda, but for fear of the unknown.

Meeting new clients and their families is always nerve-racking, but caring for someone (one-on-one) with severe disabilities takes a special kind of human, e.g,, nerves of steel and the patience of a saint.

I believe I am one of those humans, and my purpose in life is to be a mother and awriter, and to use my growing knowledge as a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) to help people. I’m saving up for nursing school, and will be ready to commit to something arduous when my kids are a little older. However, when I decide to further my education in healthcare, my bedside manner will be well-grounded in years of hands-on experience.

I was meant to meet Linda; she’s taught me a lot in the short time I’ve cared for her. I challenged myself to accept her as a client that day, and when she taught me all the best knock-knock jokes in the book that afternoon, I knew I had found a match.

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