I believe my son would not be where he is today without my advocacy and unconditional love and care.
What are you most excited to do as a Dole Caregiver Fellow?
I have a lot of experience and knowledge being a caregiver. I want to share, listen, learn from others, and to help in any way to improve the quality of life.
How has your life changed since you became a caregiver? What sacrifices have you had to make?
I’ve spent less time with family and friends. I am constantly in hospitals. My relationships have changed, and there are feelings of loneliness.
What is a quote that inspires you or keeps you motivated?
Live Life to the Fullest.
Barb Webb’s son Mark murmured his first words since his combat injury after Barb spent countless hours at his bedside in the ICU reading him a book by his favorite author Zane Grey. At that moment, she knew Mark had survived and she would be his caregiver. There was no hesitation in her decision. She quit her job and was determined to help her son after the sacrifices he had made for our country.
While deployed, on July 8, 2008, Mark was severely injured. As a result of his injuries, he is 90 percent blind, has a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and suffers from tinnitus, no sense of smell, and many other debilitating symptoms. He has had more than 50 surgeries to date, and has more ahead.
Exhausted, and not knowing where to go with questions during her first two years as a caregiver, Barb finally found the connections she needed through the resource specialists at Harry S. Truman Veterans Memorial Hospital in Columbia. Her support network expanded to include the Truman VA Caregiver Support Program, the Patient-Aligned Care Team (PACT) from the hospital’s Silver Clinic, the Transition and Care Management Program Coordinator, the hospital’s low-vision team and coordinators from the facility’s Recreation Therapy Service, and many wonderfully helpful organizations outside the hospital.
Barb manages all her son’s care, from cooking to cleaning, to driving him to all appointments and managing his medication. He lives in her house, but with his own space. She works to give him the confidence, care, push, and drive to be purposeful in life. She believes he should never give up because there is a reason he is still alive. Barb also drives six hours to Iowa every other weekend to pick up Mark’s daughter, allowing them to have quality time together.