Desperately Seeking Caregiver Advice

My son AJ is 16, 6 feet tall and 175 pounds. His surgery was March 28th of this year which obliterated his AVM that occupied majority of the left side of his cerebellum and a portion of his right. He deficits include left sided ataxia, vision problems, consistent dizziness especially upon standing, and requires maximum assistance with walking and moderate with ADL's.
Here is my dilemma; while walking him into church last Wednesday night, during a torrential downpour, we fell. All of our weight fell on my right arm which was supporting his left side. Thankfully he did not hit his head which was my main concern but in the process my radial head was cracked and my arm is useless. I have some range of motion and can move my fingers but have no strength and cannot utilize my fingers or hand without experiencing a great deal of pain. My son still wanted to go to church and we sat through the whole service. I felt my arm pop when we fell and suspected it was broken. He was so upset during the service and kept asking if I was ok. After about fifteen minutes he said he was sorry. When I asked him for what, he told me that he felt like it was his fault that we fell and he felt bad for hurting me. I tried to convince him I was ok by wiggling my fingers and showing him I could move my arm but he still felt really bad.
After the x-rays on Thursday I learned what I already knew, it was in fact broken. My problem is I still am his caregiver. I cannot get into an orthopedic to get it set until next Wednesday so my arm is in a sling until then. They said it was too swollen. The first couple of days I was taking the sling off so I didn't make him feel worse than he already did and it got in the way when I had to help him. I know I shouldn't do this and sometimes regret it when I can't sleep at night because the pain is too excruciating. I explained to him I have to keep it on and have been wearing it lately.
Simply put, I don't have time for a broken arm. I have too much to do. Not to mention this has taken me out of work which I am sure is going to put a financial hardship on my family because I am a single mother and sole provider.
I need advice on how I can still take care of him while taking care of myself. I find myself in reaction to his unsteady gait moving my arm as a reflex. I know I need to do therapy with him and maintain his daily schedule but I am having great difficulty. Any pointers, advice, or strict criticism is welcome and greatly appreciated!

I'm so sorry, Stacey. Start with your church. I am sure if you talk to your minister, he can help find a church volunteer or crew of volunteers to help you while your arm mends. There is even a website called Lotsahelpinghands ( where you can ask for help with specific tasks and people can sign up to volunteer. Your church is your spiritual community; they should be happy to band together to help you out.

I agree with DancerMom. Call the church…most churches have people who will help you. As far as work…depending on your company…there may be groups who can help. At my airline we have Pegasus Wings. Not everything is coverd by insurance and this group helps when Flight Attendants need some extra monetary assistance. You and your son are on my prayer list!

One thing you have to remember.... In order to take care of AJ, you have to take care of YOURSELF first. Don't be afraid to ask for help. The more specific the task, and times needed, the better / easier for friends to volunteer.

We had a friend who's husband was dying of cancer. She started a blog for daily updates, and as things came up where she needed a hand, she'd post it on the blog. As her friends read it, they could post "I got this one covered". Made it easy for her, and easy for the friends.

Our church has a prayer chain, and if someone needs a specific task done, volunteers are asked to call the church office. That way, YOU don't get 50 calls from someone wanting to help on the one task.

I wish you well.
Ron, KS

Hi Stacey. See if any of these links on this page would be of any help…

That is dreadful. As Ron said, You have to take care of yourself in order to take care of AJ. I’ll pray for you and AJ. if I could give you a Hug, I would. God Bless you.

Perhaps the North Carolina Department of Human Service can provide you with help talking care of AJ.

There is a Hotline to call:

Stay Strong and Stay Positive Mom! You and AJ will be in my thoughts and prayers!

I'm sorry you're having such a rough time. Like Ron said, you need to take of yourself in order to help your son. As far as work goes...have you requested FMLA leave? I know it doesn't give you a pay check but it does allow you to take a leave of absence and still keep your job. I hope your arm heals quickly.