Lady with MS slips through the cracks

Colleen Weyman wants to go home.

Colleen Weyman

Colleen Weyman wants to go home.

Sitting in her wheelchair, Weyman, who has multiple sclerosis, haltingly, quietly and without fanfare, tells the story of how she ended up in longterm care in Rimbey.

The story began last December, just before Christmas. Weyman was excited because she and her husband, Wayne were going to Banff to celebrate the holiday in style. Wayne had been in the hospital, seriously ill for several months, and even though he had not fully recovered, he was well enough to go on a little holiday.

She smiles as she recalls the excitement of getting away for the little trip. She had recently acquired a van which had hand controls and allowed her chair to lock into position in the driver’s seat, so she could drive. And even though her caregiver would accompany them on the trip, she relished the freedom.

However, the trio never made it to Banff. They ended up being involved in a serious car accident. Although the injuries were minor for the ladies, Wayne, who was in a fragile state at the time, suffered broken ribs and other injuries resulting in complications. A few days later he passed away.

About that time, Weyman’s caregiver decided to move on.

With no family here to help her, Weyman found herself in longterm care, dependent on the help the nursing staff provided for her daily care.

Determined to eventually go home, she began calling agencies, looking for a full time caregiver.

So far, she has not been successful.

She has also tried Alberta Health Services and the MS Society, but feels like she is being led on a wild goose chase.

“I feel like I am falling through the cracks,” she said, her ever ready smile dimming and her blue eyes filling with tears.

Meanwhile, she is worried about what will happen to her if she can’t find a caregiver by March 9. After that time, she says her room in the longterm care facility will no longer be available, as it is to be used for respite patients only.

When she employed her previous caregiver, who was with her for two years, she would come to the longterm care facility for a week each month so her caregiver would have time off.

Now, without a caregiver, she is not sure where she will be placed in the system if she can’t go home.

“I could end up anywhere,” she said.

However, Weyman has not given up hope. Her fully wheelchair accessible home is on an acreage close to the lake, only a stone’s throw from the golf course and less than 10 kilometers from Rimbey.

“It’s nice out there,” she said. “Lots of trees. And it’s home. I would love to go home.”

Anyone interested in helping Weyman can contact her at caweyman@gmail.com.