Two Jewels—Gemealia and her caregiver, Cheryl
“The thing about Cheryl is I trust her. She’s been coming to me for more than three years now. She comes once every two weeks now, but she used to come every week when I was in the wheelchair. I still need help but now I can walk a little again, which is great.
When she comes she mainly cleans and washes clothes. She is a neat person not just because she is a good cleaner but she is a good and interesting person and so dependable. She listens to me and shares stories while she works and we know about each other’s families.
I made sure she met my sister just in case something happens to me. Well, a lot already has happened to me. I can’t bend over in the tub anymore or mop a floor because I have had seven major fractures. I look pretty good, so people wonder why I need so much help but I have three broken bones in my neck from a bad car accident.
I can walk, yes. Walk to the grocery store. But I can’t carry any bags home so there is no use going to it alone. So that means I am by myself at home a lot. I look forward to Cheryl’s visits. She is good company even though she is bustling around here all the time. I tell Cheryl she is a jewel. A real jewel. Then she says, ‘No, you are the one who’s a gem, Ms. Gemealia!’ Cheryl makes me laugh.“
Getting By With A Little Help From A Friend—Ruby and Dorothy’s Story
“I love Dorothy. She’s my caregiver from St. Andrew’s. Dorothy has been coming here on Thursdays for five months and she is here for four hours. When she comes I get a nice hot meal. I am in pretty bad shape now so if no one can come I just have cold cereal for dinner, or leftovers if I am lucky. I can’t stand long enough to make something on the stove, or to wash my clothes. Dorothy does my wash for me.
I do dialysis in the mornings, so she comes in the afternoons. I don’t go out anymore. It’s not safe for me to go out alone, so when Dorothy comes we go grocery shopping. It is the highlight of my week.
Dorothy asks me where she should put things away. That’s because she wants me to know where things are so I can find them when I need them and don’t have to look too long. If I have to look too long I get tired and that’s not good.
Dorothy is an elegant little lady who goes right to work and gets it all done right. She really cares about me, but she would care about anybody. That’s the way she is. If she couldn’t come, making it through the week would be very hard.”