Casey to the Rescue by Ellen Rogers
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Helping Hands:
Monkey Helper for the Disabled

How did you come up with the idea of writing Kasey to the Rescue?
After Ned’s accident I had to give up on the 9-5 thing – even consulting: I couldn’t even get through the interview process or a client meeting without having to cancel because a nurse didn’t show up or Ned had an important doctor’s appointment. Somehow I had to earn some money. My hard-earned savings were rapidly being sucked dried.

Looking at Ned and Kasey one evening, I suddenly knew what to do: I’ll write a book, I grandly told them, about the two of you! There was a lot of eye-rolling from the crowd but I believed that our story was real, that it might inspire others, and that, hopefully, it would contribute to the rapidly depleting family coffers.

What was your major in college?
I was a Russian Civilization major at Smith. I’d fallen in love with the Cyrillic alphabet as a senior project at Hathaway Brown and took it from there. I love the literature, the rich history, and the complexities of the people.

How did I go from being a Russian Civ major to a marketing executive at high tech companies?
It was a complete accident. After graduating I moved to Boston – with a small detour to Poughkeepsie, NY – along with my horse and my dog with a plan to teach riding. It turned out I needed a far better paying job than cleaning out stalls so I answered an ad in the Boston Globe for a company called International Data Corporation. They were the first company doing market research on the emerging computer industry. I needed a job, and they needed someone to code forms, and so I began. As it turns out, I was pretty good at market research, which is really not much different than writing research papers in college, by which I mean you gather information from primary and secondary sources, do some analysis and present your findings. I loved it and I was off and running.

What are some things even my friends don’t know about me?
I am seriously afraid of driving over bridges. I’m ok if someone ELSE is driving. The worst one I’ve ever encountered is in Newport, RI – I had to pull over in a complete anxiety attack. I can’t even imagine driving over the Oakland Bay Bridge. Just the sight of it from an airplane gives me the heebie jeebies. I once drove 3 hours out of my way to avoid it. The Golden Gate – yikes. When confronted with it, I prayed it would be seriously foggy so I couldn’t see anything on either side. Fortunately, my prayers were answered.

I used to be a pretty good piano player. A skill long lost but every once in a while I imagine that I will pick it up again. Ditto, horseback riding.

I’ve always wanted to go on a safari – although maybe I’m on my own safari today.

Some random thoughts:

Whoever says “when your kids get older, it gets easier,” doesn’t have any twenty-something kids – yet.

Nine years after Ned’s accident, nearly all traces of my former high tech marketing career are gone. But rewards have come in unexpected places. All the years I worked, I was never present as a mom. Now I’m ever-present. My son, Jake, likes to call it upside-down mothering. And now, who knows? I might even find a new career in selling homes!

Confession from an accidental caregiver: I didn’t see having my life hijacked. Who does? Many people these days are finding themselves in the same situation as their loved ones age or fall ill. A life that was moving along in one direction – I thought I was graduating from mothering and into “Life of my Own” - is suddenly wrenched in a different one.

People say to me: How do you do it? First of all, I tell them, don’t be silly; you would do the same exact thing if one of your children or loved ones were injured. You just do, you can’t not do.

Then I tell them: humor is the key to everything. I admit, though, having a little capuchin helper monkey sure makes a difference.


Helping Hands:Monkey Helpers for the Disabled

Hyperion Books:

Claudia Kronenberg Photography

Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

Carol Rosenbaum Productions

Nantucket Event Media

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