I knew when he was hospitalized for mental health that I was the lifeline that would keep him alive.
What are some of your current challenges?
Because of the nature of his injuries, my husband has a difficult time retaining information. I still have to attend 90 percent of his appointments, because he won’t remember what the doctor says. We have three children, so my main struggle is balancing the kids’ activities with my husband’s.
What did you know about military caregivers before you became one?
When my husband was active duty, I honestly did not consider that there were people caring for injured veterans. It simply was not on my radar. It is incredible now to think of all the people who cared for veterans from all the previous wars.
What advice do you wish you had when you first became a military caregiver?
I wish I had learned to take time for myself. I was so wrapped up in taking care of my husband and the kids that I lost myself. Recently, I have become committed to taking care of myself and I make efforts to attend caregiver activities and retreats to keep me feeling balanced.
Joey cares for her husband, Charlie, who was wounded in Iraq in 2005. He suffers from a traumatic brain injury (TBI), cognitive impairment, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and severe back pain, among other issues. After he was medically retired from the Army, they moved to Michigan.
As a Dole Fellow, Joey's goal is to bring attention to the fact that caregivers exist and play such an important role in our country.