Sunday September 24, 2017
He chose to be a caregiver... even when he didn't have to
more stories from this episode
- In sickness and in (mental) health
- My mother's early-onset dementia diagnosis sidetracked both our lives
- She adopted her brother, and went from sister to 'Mommy'
- When no one asks how you're doing as a caregiver
- He chose to be a caregiver... even when he didn't have to
- Forced to choose between caring for your father or your spouse
- You might be making life harder for parents of autistic kids
- Full Episode
When Sam Eifling moved to New York, he met Aubrie Marrin.
Aubrie suffers from several chronic illnesses, including Lyme disease, and she's in constant pain because of a botched spinal surgery.
"At the time, I'm thinking here's this charming, pleasant, beautiful, funny person who has been dealt the worst hand I've seen anybody dealt and I say something like, 'That's bullshit,'"says Sam.
So, Sam falls for Aubrie and becomes her partner and her caregiver.
"We can get you, I don't know what I thought, help...She needed somebody who was going to be there and stick up for her, I think."
He says part of the attraction was that "because the house is on fire" there isn't a lot of time for artifice.
"It does allow you to have an intense relationship very quickly with somebody who doesn't have the energy to put on the kind of happy face that everybody can walk around with."
Sam helped Aubrie with her everyday caregiving, acquiring private insurance, and with raising money for much needed health care.
"This is gonna sound like the last self diagnosis you'd expect but a big part of it comes with just raging ego...All that seems to stand in the way of her and the life that she should be living is treatable disease and a very expensive surgery. And I say, 'Well, gosh, we gotta be able to do that.'
"This has been a very good reassessment for me of what my powers are as a person...I think all along the way I thought I could do more than it turns out that I could."
Sam and Aubrie eventually break up but Sam says he continues to be a caregiver to Aubrie.
"I do have a mom who's been very direct in saying you'll never regret taking care of people. You'll never regret being kind to people...And when you get those chances you have to take it because you will regret not being kind."