When care changes over time – Donovan


At one point, Donovan felt his wife needed a wheelchair for her own safety, but she just wasn’t ready yet.


In 1981 approximately, she was diagnosed with MS. And by ‘88 she had to leave work. The work that she was doing had far too much stress for anybody, and the stress exacerbated her MS and probably brought it on more quickly than it would have otherwise come along. So, she had to leave work in ‘88 and I retired in 1990. We moved out to the coast from [a city in AB] in 1990. We had a house built for ourselves on [an] island, which is one of the […] islands. I don’t know if you know the geography around here. And we lived there for 8 years, and in 1994 her disease progressed to the point where she had to start using a wheelchair. She could still transfer herself from the wheelchair to chairs and so on, but because of fears of falling she had to start using a wheelchair. So in that sense, since 1994 I started being a caregiver.

No, you see this has been such a gradual process for me, from day one starting in before 1994, because we knew she had it. But up until about 1994, she was able to deal with things. She could walk, she could cook, she could function. But then, when it got to the point with a wheelchair that she was unsteady on her feet—getting very unsteady on her feet—and I was very afraid that she was going fall and hit her head on something and so, I had to convince her to start using a wheelchair. And you can’t push people to use a wheelchair until they are ready. They have to be ready “up here” emotionally to accept that that’s where they’re at; that’s where it’s at.

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