Two years ago, Caitlan didn’t know her life was about to change when she crossed paths with her now-fiancé Liam.
“I met Liam almost two years ago, on the dancefloor in Manly on a Saturday night. I didn’t know it then but I actually already knew of him from the news, of which he was a focus of, roughly seven years ago.”
Liam was the victim of a random act of violence at a gate-crashed party. The gate-crasher threw, amongst other things, a pole which struck Liam in the head causing traumatic brain injury, resulting in a permanent weakened left side.
“He’s extremely independent so I didn’t initially consider or view myself as a ‘carer’. There are small things that I do to assist him, such as prepping and cutting food, being physical support when we go on hikes, and carrying items which require two hands including always being the one to go into the cold fridge at the bottle shop!”
It was after moving in together a year ago that Caitlan began to notice a slight shift in the support she provides – from being solely physical to much more.
“Liam is the most positive person I’ve ever met, but it doesn’t come without the low times. It’s during these moments that I find myself being there for him more from a mental health perspective.”
Caitlan and Liam enjoying oysters by the water in the sunshine.
Sometimes, it’s just about being there when he needs someone to listen to how he’s feeling or to reminisce on life before his injury. Other times, it might be helping him book in specialist appointments or working out a new plan to balance physio requirements, his full-time corporate job and everything else in between.
Caitlan says that being a part of Medibank allows the flexibility to be there for Liam and assist him to pursue whatever it is that makes him happy and get the most out of life.
“My team have been a huge support for me. With the flexibility available, I know I can be there for Liam, but more importantly, I feel safe to speak up when times get tough.”
Her advice for others with caring responsibilities?
“Never disregard the support you provide and the impact you have on someone’s quality of life, not matter how big or small.”