I was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming in ’61 and grew up in Nebraska in a small town called Maxwell. In 1979, I had a diving accident which rendered me a quadriplegic. Life with a spinal cord injury has its many challenges from being independent to becoming dependent on other individuals. Moving from home to striking out on my own highlighted the challenges I experienced. I was a high school drop-out, but after my injury I got my GED. In my thirties, I went back to school and received my Associates degree in Network Technologies. I worked for eight years at the Community College of Omaha’s IT Helpdesk department and then moved to New Mexico.
When first moving out on my own, I did not use an agency for caregiver support, but put an advertisement in the local newspaper for a live-in caregiver. However, I did use an agency for RN support to help with my catheter changes and my experience with them was positive. Then I met David Franklin, my current part-time caregiver and LPN and life partner of twenty-four years. While living in Nebraska, when he needed a vacation or had a surgery, I used an agency. It was a love/hate relationship. Having to depend on unknown people from an agency is hard and finding a person who fits your criteria and schedule can be difficult. In a nutshell, having an agency for your care is sucky!
What I like about New Mexico Centennial Care Self Direction is being independent, living in my own home, and avoiding institutional care. I can advertise in the newspaper to hire people for PT homemaker/direct support and finding people compatible with my personality is a plus. The budget allocated to me for personal care allows me to hire who I want and I am very grateful for this. I also like being able to call my Care Coordinator or Support Broker if and when an issue comes up so I can get their feedback. Self-direction in New Mexico does have its challenges. Each year I have to deal with several different agencies that do not communicate well with each other.
Hobbies: I am a bookworm and love to read.
Christine – Peer Network Member
Albuquerque, New Mexico
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