Anybody who knows me well knows that this has been a huge problem for a long time. It has been a struggle for me to find caregivers, especially ones who are trustworthy and reliable and really want to make my life easier. Covid-19 just made things worse, with the shelter in place order and the fact that I was in the high-risk category of getting infected. Not many people wanted to come into my house. There were many lonely days and the one caregiver who stuck with me is in nursing school and is a member of the national guard. He did all that he could, even though his time was limited and he had other important obligations.
The circumstances of Covid-19 led me to explore various ways that I could be more independent. Read more about that here. Even though I was finding ways to do more of my day-to-day tasks on my own, I am keenly aware that there is a long list of things that I need that I will never be able to do by myself. A few examples include running my own errands, (I don’t drive) putting on my socks and shoes, and doing my own laundry. Therefore, although the pool to draw from has been much smaller over the last year or so, I continued to put lots of effort into advertising for caregivers. 
At first, I didn’t have much luck. Some people quit because they were scared of some health issues that I was experiencing. (I can’t say that I blame them. Every once in a while I have these episodes where I sleep for about 40 hours at a time and nobody can wake me up. I tell my caregivers exactly what to do in that scenario, but I understand that hearing about it in theory and seeing the reality of it are two very different things.) Some people quit because the times that I needed their help did not jive with their schedules. Some people quit because I was so short-handed. They did not want to work as many hours as I required or have all the responsibility of my caregiving needs resting almost solely on their shoulders. And some people quit very soon after they started because it became clear that being a caregiver just was not for them.
It got to the point where I cried and prayed every day, and I did both earnestly. I told myself that Lawrence had a population of about 100,000 people and I was not going to stop until I had a full team of six caregivers and two backups.
I started to get creative. I reached out to the premed club at KU and sent them a flyer advertising the position, as well as numerous other groups on campus. I contacted former caregivers to see if they might want to work for me again. I talked to neighbors and friends. I advertised the position on Facebook and on I even had my case manager reach out to several groups in the community to see if he could find anyone who might be interested in an interview. People started responding and I set up a whole lot of interviews over Zoom. After a while, my luck started to change.
When I checked my email this morning, I got word that a guy who had interviewed a few days ago accepted the position. He is one of a few. In fact, when everyone’s paperwork is processed through payroll, I will have five caregivers and one backup. I am not quite at my goal yet, but I am going to keep looking, and at this point, I know that it is there is indeed a light at the end of the tunnel. I haven’t had a full team of caregivers in about three years, so I am beyond excited. This means that instead of just getting the basics done like showering and grocery shopping, I will have people who can help me to cook and clean and get things done around my house. It means that I will be able to get out in the community whenever it happens to be a nice day instead of just for emergencies and medical appointments. I have a feeling that my quality of life is going to explode this summer because there is going to be a whole team of people who care about my well-being.
This has been a long time coming. And I am ready. I am so ready.