Caring for both her two-year-old and her husband, while maintaining full-time work as an attorney, was the hardest thing Whitney ever had to do, and she constantly battled with whether she was providing enough care and attention to each of them. Whitney cared for her husband, who was diagnosed with brain cancer, for more than forty hours a week due to a decline in cognitive function that he experienced preventing him from being left alone.
Whitney believes that having a medical professional stop by occasionally to help with medical tasks would have helped her immensely. Yet, Whitney neither qualified financially for any program that would provide this, nor did she have enough money to pay for it herself. As she was learning to navigate the confusing system of receiving her husband’s financial benefits, she had to get her Congresswoman involved because the money wasn’t coming, and the mortgage on her home needed to be paid. Later, when her husband spent 9 months in hospice, Whitney was able to borrow leave from coworkers so she could care for him, which made her feel supported and valued as an employee.
Whitney described her time as a caregiver as living in a bubble with a high amount of emotion, stress, and worry, where it was impossible to think straight. She would have benefitted from a connection to caregivers going through the same experience as her.