Adaptable Caregiving After a Fall: Randall’s Story

Nate Birt

Written by Nate Birt on Tue Jan 03 2023.

Randall K. shares his caregiving journey

Caregiver: Randall K.

He’s caring for: His wife, Judith

Best tip for other caregivers: Maintain a positive attitude and upbeat outlook.

In Sickness and in Health

After Randall’s wife fell in the shower in April 2021, he knew she would need extensive care to stay home. Randall, a caregiver of more than 10 years, immediately focused on making Judith’s life happy, productive, and pain-free. The couple celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary in September 2022.

“Truly, we have become partners, well beyond our marriage vows,” explains Judith, who has multiple sclerosis and also has been treated for a cancerous kidney tumor. “My life has been enriched and maintained because of my husband’s dedication to the vow of ‘in sickness and in health.’”

Adapting to Meet the Moment

That fall in 2021 led Randall to adjust his approach to caretaking continually. His love and compassionate care allowed him to adapt as Judith’s needs changed.

“My legs were like jelly and had become painfully twisted,” Judith recalls, describing her fall from exacerbated symptoms of multiple sclerosis. “Randy’s calm and methodical demeanor helped me to understand what had happened and allowed us to figure out what we could do to alleviate the situation. We called the rescue squad, and they were able to get me to the recliner chair in our living room. That is where I would stay for the next 10 days.”

Randall placed plastic sheeting and terry-cloth towels under her to keep Judith clean and comfortable while unable to walk to the bathroom. Then, at her neurologist’s recommendation, Randall worked with a home-health agency to install a hospital bed and Hoyer lift. He moved furniture out of the family’s craft room to accommodate the bed and proved to be a quick study in how to use the lift.

“At this point, my husband became my absolute lifeline as he changed my diapers, changed the bed, gave me bed baths, did all the shopping and cooking, housekeeping and laundry,” Judith says. 

Around-the-clock Support

Like many caregivers, Randall balanced his everyday caretaking with a busy schedule outside the home. But it didn’t slow him down a bit. He continued his part-time job as a church organist and choir director. 

As Judith improved, Randall turned his attention to creating a livable environment full of helpful tools for her recovery. The couple purchased mobility equipment, so she could use a bedside commode and, eventually, a rolling shower chair. Randall helped her take showers and even bought a wheelchair-accessible van to take her to doctor’s appointments. 

Caregiving Guided by Love

Although every couple’s journey has its ups and downs, Judith remembers these moments with admiration. 

“He has really thought of everything possible,” she says.

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Nate Birt
Nate Birt

Nate Birt is the founder of Silver Maple Strategies, a consulting company that provides premium encouragement and communications solutions to help social purpose leaders make a lasting impact in harmony with their personal values. A University of Missouri journalism graduate, author and public speaker, Nate and his wife, Julie, live with their four children on a small farm in northeastern Missouri.