Intensive Care: Ruth's Story - Caregiver

“When Tracy Duran came into our lives our world had turned upside down.  My husband Jim had been in intensive care for too many days and was finally returning home and we needed help.  The good Lord must have been watching over us because He sent us Tracy.  From the day she arrived she became a part of our family.  I wasn’t sure what a “caregiver” would do but I knew we needed someone to help us. Tracy arrived and just wrapped us in her love and has taken care of us ever since.  It has been over a year and I am having trouble thinking of the one thing that stands out so I need to talk about so many things she has done for us.

There have been so many times when I needed someone just to talk with about the struggles Jim was having and how I could help him – and Tracy was there for those discussions.  She arrives at 8:30 most days and brings such a flood of sunshine and cheer into our home that it makes every day a better day.  She has worked with Jim to help him become stronger, she has assisted in arranging for special equipment for his care, she has found suppliers for the special foods and drinks he needed, and she has made life work for us.

I remember a time early in the morning when I awoke and discovered that Jim had walked down to the living room and had fallen down.  I called Tracy and she said – “I will be right there” and sure enough she was there very quickly.  We both helped Jim get up and tended to his injuries.  But I also remember how I felt knowing she was there and that I could call her and she would come right away.  It was amazing!!!

Tracy is a wonderful cook and as Jim began to feel better she and Jim had a baking day together each week.  They look in cookbooks for special recipes, we gather the ingredients, and then the fun begins.  Tracy bought Jim a Chef’s Hat and wrote CHEF SULLY on it for Jim to wear and they began their baking events!  She would take a photo or two or three with her cell phone and send them to me so I could be a part of the joy that was happening right there in our kitchen.

In addition to taking care of Jim preparing wonderful meals, taking care of our little dog Zippy (who loves her to pieces and goes crazy every morning when he hears her car drive up!), Tracy takes care of me.  Part of care giving has to be to find a way to impart to the spouse or family member that they can be comfortable knowing their loved one is loved and being cared for, and another part is finding a way for us (me) to not be guilty because I can’t be there myself to do all the things that need to be done.  Tracy has found a way to take care of me as well as Jim.  She IS part of our family and we would be lost without her.

Jim goes to dialysis three times a week and we work around that schedule, but Tracy will come early, fix him a tasty lunch, take it to dialysis and sit with him while he has his lunch.  She also keeps track of his health and makes sure that she gets all the pertinent details discussed with her when he sees a Doctor or even while he is at dialysis and she is there observing.  She is being ME!! That is what is so very glorious about Tracy Duran.  She is able to come into our home and all of a sudden there are two ME’s there, both loving and caring for Jim.

As I said I could go on and on-thinking of the special moments-the times she has taken Jim for a haircut and then taken a photo because he looked so good.  All the time she is thinking of what she can do or say what would make life better for him.  And she succeeds!!  Oh, my –she does succeed.  I watch her sometimes when she is combing Jim’s hair –so wonderful-a little thing but so clearly obvious she cares.

Jim has had several setbacks over the course of the year-he has been in and out of the hospital and every time, Tracy is there not only for Jim but also for me.  She has given me the time to be with Jim when I get home at night because she takes care of all the things I used to do-or try to do-and she says to me -“no worries – I’ve done that” when I say I have laundry to do, or cleaning to do, or dishes to do.  So in addition to being a God-send to my darling Jim, she is one to me as well.

I would recommend Tracy Durand as not only Caregiver of the year, but Caregiver of our Life!!  She is a fantastic, hard working, loving and caring person and deserves a huge amount of recognition.  We are so fortunate to have her as part of our family.”