Rachel's story

2 minute read

Rachel cares full time for her daughter, Emily, who is a quadriplegic. She has found caring is done best when it’s shared with family and friends.

Video duration 0:30

Rachel: It was 6 AM on a Wednesday morning, and the phone went. It was ominous before I even heard someone speak. Emily caught the front of her snowboard on a snow step, a little edge, and somersaulted. All of a sudden, from being the mother of three independent children, I had a lifestyle that was governed by someone else’s needs.

Emily, as a quadriplegic, hasn’t got a pinch. She hasn’t got hand function. And so some of the simplest things that you and I don’t think of, Emily struggles with. So you just basically – whatever is thrown in your path, you think, right, how are we going to deal with this?

There is no doubt that the person who is caring for the person that is injured or traumatised goes through that trauma with them.

Emily: My mum’s very energetic. She is all systems go, all the time. If no job’s to be done, she makes a job for herself. It’s very rarely I think that she just takes a moment for herself.

Rachel: When I meet people, sometimes they don’t realise that my brain is working double speed.

It should be a two-way street. And Emily respects me and I respect her. The whole of the house doesn’t just revolve on Emily time. She actually has to semi-plan, sometimes, around me, because it shouldn’t be all one way.

Emily: All of our conversations are forward-looking. I don’t think we ever look back and think, oh, what if? We’re always thinking, where are we going? What do we want to do? And how can we get there?

Rachel: I really recognise I can only function when I’ve had some time out. It’s the best thing. I return into the house, I’m refreshed. I’ve had a coffee with friends. I’ve had a bit of chatter.

I have found caring can be done long-term, it can be done well. But it is done best when it’s shared. You need resources. You need family, friends.

She was a wonderful individual before. And I just want her to be that same wonderful individual after.