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Standing Up to Family
By: Cindy Wolke

In 2000, my mother got the courage to leave her emotionally abusive marriage after 31 years. Two days after moving in with me, she had a stroke.  My father was still in town. That first night sitting in the emergency room, not knowing if she was going to be okay, he began to insist that he was taking her home. I knew if he did she would not get the proper care.

I found my voice and told him she would not be returning with him; she was staying with me! In a matter of hours, I had to learn how to advocate with doctors to make decisions about medical care. As it turned out, she would also need surgery for a pacemaker. Seeing that I was not backing down, my father reluctantly went back home.

Over the next few weeks, he continued to try to interfere. So next, I had to become an advocate in legal matters, helping my mother turn over power of attorney to me and getting a quick divorce. In the years since, it continues to be her and me against the world. Her medical issues are many and they often baffle the doctors.

Too many times, I have had to stand up to the doctors and ask for more help. But where did I learn to have a voice and to stand up as a fearless caregiver? From my mother.  You see, I was disabled growing up and my mother always stood up for me.  She was my fearless caregiver. Now, it is my turn. 



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