I can barely remember Hurricane Katrina now that a couple months have passed. I am a superficial spoiled American with a short attention span I guess. At the time I was disgusted with the government’s slow response to all the suffering. But I’m not a very political animal, not one to count on the government for much besides self-interest.
I do remember seeing news coverage that our city had accommodated a couple of hundred evacuees, and televised some interviews in the Red Cross Family Assistance Center. Maria Alvarez was interviewed, and identified as a caregiver. She wondered aloud, “How could God treat us like dogs?” and then saying she realized it was to make us stronger, or words to this effect.
I’ve been recruiting, interviewing, hiring, training and losing caregivers for about two and a half years now, as a family caregiver to my 95-year-old father. It is kind of my biggest activity, outside of caring for Dad and the house. So I jumped out of bed, and wrote down Maria’s name on a sticky note. The next morning, I excitedly phoned the Red Cross, saying I wanted to interview Ms. Alvarez for a full time live-in position.
This was a pretty big deal for me - to say I’ve become jaded around the home care issue is a huge understatement. I told a couple of friends about this, and thought WOW this could be so cool, that I could help out someone who could also help ME out. What a perfect world it could be!
I got nice return call from an administrative person at the Red Cross, saying they would pass on my request to someone at the Assistance Center. That was the last I heard. Maria Alvarez, I hope you found a job and are re-building your life without too many difficulties. I have found someone else for the position we offered, and I too am in the process of re-building my own life, a life that has grown smaller and smaller as a result of my caregiving responsibilities. Not a dramatic loss like a hurricane survivor, but a small loss, that has also made me stronger. Life, funny stuff.