Jacana 5's Plight Highlights Wider Issue
Barbara Douglass has paused to collect her
thoughts so she can sum up the difficulties facing her severely
brain-damaged grandson, Ryan, and his family as they try to secure
him disability support funding and somewhere to live.
"A lot of people get worn down by it," the 71-year-old says
finally. "Tell you what - there's worse things than death and
that's the perpetual grief for families."
She's not saying, you understand, that it would be better if her
beloved Ryan had died when his car hit a power pole more than four
years ago, or that she would rather be dead than continue to play
her role in the family's watchful and loving guardianship of
It's just that, for all of them, being stuck in an unsatisfying,
unedifying, frustrating and upsetting limbo where none of them -
Ryan, Barbara, Deb, who is Ryan's mother, his father, siblings, all
of them - can move an inch and certainly not forward, is like a
kind of death.
Barb continues. "On the one hand, I think to myself we're lucky
Ryan's not in a nursing home.
"What were we told?" she looks inquiringly over at
daughter-in-law Deb. "That there were thousands of these young guys
waiting for a bed in the Jacana Acquired Brain Injury Centre when
we got in?
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