A pivotal role when a parent with young children suddenly becomes critically ill is who is going to look after the kids. In this episode of the Speechless SLP with Vanessa Abraham, we hear from her mom, Pam, on what it was like to have a daughter needing hospital care, and a young granddaughter needing to be looked after as well.
Discussion & Reflection Question
- Do you welcome caregivers and support people in your environment and help them understand your patient or client’s particular needs and situations?
- What are some of the medical and technological terms you use that could be broken down into simple language for your patient or client’s non-medical support people to understand?
- Are there ways you can help and encourage caregivers and support people to take a break and look after themselves too?
- How much do you know about the different options for healthcare and different facilities people may have under their insurance?
- If you were to find yourself in need of care would you want to be close to home?
At the local hospital, she was pointing at words. She would say to me at the very beginning to go home, take my baby, and go home.
When she was [later] at the local hospital for rehab, we were down there every day. We took her daughter with us, and that was a very positive thing for her daughter and, I think, Vanessa, to have us close. I think that was important.
Pam is a wife and mother to three adult children. Her life was flipped upside down when Vanessa, her daughter, became sick in the ICU and was unable to care for her child on any level.
Pam and her husband Allen rose to the challenge by not only helping Vanessa drive to medical appointments but provided a safe and loving home for her child to live during the most challenging and scary time of Vanessa’s life.
Vanessa is a wife, mother and school based Speech-Language Pathologist.
She learned firsthand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of speech services after experiencing a sudden-onset critical illness that left her with limb and neck paralysis as well as a PEG tube and tracheotomy.
She was thrown into the rehabilitation world after being an independent, healthy and vibrant young mother. Through many swallow studies, voice therapy, OT and PT, she had to learn to eat, talk and move again.
Her goal now is to help people critically ill patients cope with the grief they experience after a critical illness through speaking up about the topic of Post Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS), depression and anxiety post ICU in addition to educating families and patients about the various rehab modalities that have been successful for her.
Contact Vanessa Abraham
“It certainly takes a village, and not just one person in a village. That village it’s got to be pretty strong, and pretty deep, because everybody needs breaks and it takes a lot of people to care for one person.”
– Vanessa Abraham
People use a lot of approaches when presented with overwhelming information – denying, minimizing, rationalizing, and hitting pause are very legitimate ways to handle emotions and the information. If we have a care support person who is maybe not active in technology and medical terminology, simplify things.
– Mattie Murrey-Tegels
Mattie Murrey Tegel, MA, CCC-SLP, L, CPC, CLSC
Medical Speech-Language Pathologist and Founder of Fresh SLP
Mattie Murrey-Tegels is the founder and SLP behind Fresh SLP and The Missing Link for SLPs Podcast. She’s been “in-the-trenches” as a medical SLP around the world for over 25 years and now an Assistant Professor for 3 years. She is thrilled to be adding this dream of a podcast because paying her experiences forward is something she is very passionate about. If you ask her patients and students, one thing they will remember is how much she loves her job! She may not look like it but she is a huge introvert and when she is not actively working as an SLP, she is almost always reading, writing (writing over 1,000,000 words a year), or listening to amazing Chicago Blues bands. She also loves being outdoors and definitely enjoys soaking up the sun at her home in Minnesota, where warm and sunny days can be limited. She’s ridden motorcycles for many years, raced sled dogs, hiked huge mountains yet she cherishes the quiet moments of climbing into a hammock to nap or timeless conversations with friends and family.
The Missing Link for SLPs podcast and Fresh SLP is her legacy, giving back to a career that has so richly rewarded her.
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Not a substitute for a formal SLP education or medical advice for patients/caregivers.