Destination PCA

How to Hire a “Destination” PCA for Your Next Trip

It began with an awkward hello and ended with a warm hug goodbye. I was actually sad to see her go. That was how smoothly it went hiring my first “destination” PCA. I ran across this fabulous idea to become fully independent while traveling (ie, not bringing a PCA) from somewhere online (I can’t remember where), but at the time I thought it doubted this ballsy idea.

The idea of a stranger coming in to help me in such an intimate way without a proper interview scared me, but then I thought about how many times I’ve been in the hospital and essentially had the same thing happen, like, every single time I’ve been in the hospital, so I thought I should just get over it and give it a go.

And what a better time than on the first vacation with a serious boyfriend. There’s no better time. As I’ve preached before, the last thing you want is your significant other doing all of your cares. I’ve made this mistake a few times in my 20+ years of living with quadriplegia, and always suffered the consequences (a ruined sex life and eventually yes…you break up).

I’m determined to upgrade this whole situ, and this is exactly why I sucked it up and found a destination PCA (my term for this). I don’t mind having my boyfriend help me at night, but in the morning when I shower and do my bowel program, that is a whole other ball of something he doesn’t need to know anything about. I know a lot of people out there make this work, and that’s cool, but I always keep certain things separate from my S.O.

I signed up for an account on Care.com hoping to find someone reputable I could trust, being that they were going to be walking into my hotel room and helping me straight away, putting me in a vulnerable position. Care.com does background checks and has a more reputable employee base than those you would find in Craigslist’s healthcare section. And it worked.

I found a sweet 54 year old Guatemalan woman who had a mother who was paralyzed too (great experience), living in Bethesda, Maryland, which is where I was headed. I put an ad on Care.com looking for a temporary PCA (for two nights only) and she was one of the first people who responded. I conducted a phone interview to make sure she wasn’t crazy, and hired her.

And thankfully, everything went great. I paid her cash after the two mornings, and it worked way more smoothly than I’d ever imagined. We got along, she was respectful and intelligent. I really couldn’t have asked for a better person.

It worked so well I wished I had done it before. That was how easy it was. She was in and out within an hour and a half (I had my boyfriend transfer me since it was too arduous to train a temporary PCA this part). And I was in my chair dressed, feeling completely independent, with my coffee in hand by 8am.

I think I’ve become pro.

Have you hired a destination PCA?

Photo courtesy of Flickr

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