Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

'Together We Survive'; during Carers Week, TONI SOMES Talks to a Loving Wife and Mum about Her Battle

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

'Together We Survive'; during Carers Week, TONI SOMES Talks to a Loving Wife and Mum about Her Battle

Article excerpt

IF you had asked Margaret Carden what retirement held for her, once she would have answered: a caravan, a trip across Australia, an adventure with her soul mate.

But sometimes life gets in the way of dreams.

Instead she is spending her grey nomad years caring for the man she loves, as he battles renal failure, diabetes and the early onset of Parkinson's.

Yet it wouldn't be such a sad story if it weren't for the precursor to her situation.

She has spent the past 24 years being the full-time carer for her son Steven.

Born prematurely at 26 weeks, Steven arrived in his parents' world weighing just 780 grams.

As fate would have it, Mrs Carden was a maternity patient at Sydney's Westmead Hospital, so the tiny infant had the advantage of support from some of the nation's most reputable neonatal specialists.

Steven survived.

Yet with the great gift of his life came complexities for those who cared for him.

"Steven has cerebral palsy, autism and some mental disabilities," his mother explained.

"But we love him. He can walk, he can talk, he can tell us he loves us.

"It has been a long journey, but we're the lucky ones; he has taught us what is important in life."

Even so, as the young child grew into a teenager there were behavioural issues to contend with and a dangerous obsession with anything on wheels.

"My husband Vic was a coach tour driver and I think that was where Steven's obsession with cars and trucks started," Mrs Carden explained.

"He would stand in the middle of the road when a semi trailer was coming because he wanted to see it.

"It was incredibly worrying."

As their son grew older the Cardens reached a dilemma facing countless Queensland parents.

How to deal with their cherished child as they aged?

Their predicament was compounded last year when Vic's diabetes escalated into severe kidney failure.

Confined to home with a four-times-a-day dialysis treatment and struggling with the emotional deadweight of a Parkinson's diagnosis the Cardens knew they had to make a decision.

"Putting Steven into permanent care was a huge call; we still adore our son and we always will, we see him regularly and ring him constantly," Mrs Carden said. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.