Post # 1
I’ve been putting off this question/topic for a while now. I just don’t know how to approach it.
Both of my parents are disabled and in wheel chairs. My Dad is on oxygen and will need his rolling oxygen tanks for the ceremony and his oxygen machine will be plugged in at the reception. My Mom can’t walk, has no dexterity, can’t hear/see/speak well, has no teeth, etc.
They have a nurse who comes over four times a week to help them. She’ll actually be taking them to my graduation in a week and attending with them. We love her and she is a miracle. We treat her like family.
Of course, a year from now I don’t know if she’ll still be with my parents, but, regardless, a nurse of some kind will be.
How will I work the nurse into the wedding? I can’t imagine who would push my parents down the aisle? I mean, I don’t think my Dad will be able to walk me down the aisle, and the thought of that upsets me enough (and don’t get me started on the father/daughter dance). Would I list her in the program? And she’ll be sitting at the family table at the reception, helping my parents there, too. Should I invite her husband? Ask her not to wear her scrubs?
This has me so flustered. I don’t want guests to pity my parents, act strangely towards the nurse helping them, I don’t want the nurse to feel awkward, etc.
I don’t want to bring this up to her yet, as I want to see how graduation goes. So far, when people hear my parents’ nurse is attending my graduation, the looks of pity and sadness are overwhelming, so I can’t imagine what it will be like for the wedding.
Post # 3
Sorry to hear your parents are in such rough shape. I think it would be lovely to invite their nurse, and to list her in the program as well, assuming it will still be the same woman you all know and love by then. If it’s a new nurse at that time, I might not list her.
Invite her to wear regular/wedding clothes. I’m not sure if I’d invite her husband, but that’s something you can ask her about for sure!
Good luck at your gradulation next week and congratulations! Try not to worry about what others will think – they are your parents and you love them and are lucky to still have them. If people choose to stare or act rudely, that’s their problem!
Post # 4
- Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry
I don’t know about listing her in the program- normally that’s just parents and bridal attendants- I think it would cause people to pay attention to her more.
Is there another family member who might escort your parents down the aisle? Would your father be able to walk you for a few rows- you could walk most of the way alone, then join him, if that’s something you’d like?
If it’s the same nurse, I think inviting her husband would be appreciated, as well as the offer to allow her to wear “street clothes.”
Post # 5
I would ask her if she’s ever been involved in assisting people who are attending a wedding/participating in a ceremony, or if she has colleagues who have. She may have some suggestions to make you and your parents feel comfortable on the big day. You can’t be the first family who’s ever wanted to include members with disabilities in the wedding. I’m sure that if she doesn’t know much about it, she’ll know other professionials who can give you some ideas.
I think it would be sweet to list her on the program, have her wear wedding clothes, and invite her husband – but, if she’s working during the ceremony, then she won’t REALLY be a guest, and she might be uncomfortable with that. I’d ask her what she thinks and see what she would be comfortable with. Even if you end up with another nurse later on, this will give you an idea of what is appropriate.
Post # 6
Ask her to wear her own clothes, probably don’t list her in the program–even if she is like family, she’s like a guest and won’t be expected to be listed in the program. Maybe a corsage would be a sweet gesture.
You can push your father down the aisle or you could have a brother or uncle or groomsman push him down with you. You can have an usher push your mother down the aisle with the nurse accompanying her.
I think that amending the traditional things in a way that allows your parents to be a part of your day would be good for all of your–they would still be involved and you would be able to have your parents with you.
Post # 7
If she’s working, she may be legally required to wear her scrubs (or, at the very least, required to wear them by her employer). I’d just have an honest conversation with her about the wedding, what your parents need, and let her know that you’re open to different clothes if it’s allowed, but that you understand if it’s not.
Post # 8
If she has to wear scrubs, maybe you could pay for black ones so they are not as obvious and just look like clothes. Perhaps she could wear a cute bolero sweater or something. I’d get her a corsage. Let her know that her husband is invited, she may find it helpful to have someone help her with her coat/purse while she assists your parents. Or not. Really, I’d give her some leeway and let her decide.
I went to a recent wedding where one of the guest had a personal nurse/attendant. She wore flats and a cute dress. It wasn’t too obvious and all the guests were pretty courteous about it.
Post # 9
Thank you for the feedback with this topic. It’s like roll-rehearsal with my parents and I’m the mother hen worrying about them, how people treat/perceive them, etc.
Our nurse now can wear what she wants in public with her patients. She works for a private agency and nurses in the future will come from this agency, so they’ll have the option to wear what they want. I want them to be comfortable and if being in scrubs makes them feel comfortable, then that’s fine. I do like the idea of black scrubs, or even ones in our wedding colors. Right now she has a lot of prints (sort of like for a pediatrician’s office).
She has never worked with people with disabilities in a social setting, so even graduation planning has been a trial and error type of thing. Her husband might be coming to that, too, since she can’t wheel two chairs at once and it’s a first-come-first-serve seating arrangement. So, I know I wouldn’t mind him going to the wedding/ceremony. My Mom’s father has a huge problem with her being in a wheel chair (emotional for him), so he’d want nothing to do with pushing her, and we’ve found a lot of family to be finicky about the wheel chairs. Since they’re out-of-state, they don’t see their siblings (my parents) often, so the sight of them is hard and I find they don’t want much to do with them in the wheel chairs (my Mom’s brother literally looks away when I wheel her to the bathroom). I can’t imagine any of them wanting to push them. And I don’t want to put that on the wedding party, since they don’t know my parents all that well.
My Dad can’t walk me. He would have to use a walker and his rolling oxygen tank and his knees aren’t good for any distance. And he doesn’t want me pushing him. He doesn’t like me pushing him in an everyday setting. He says it hurts his pride. But, maybe that will change closer to the actual wedding.
I really do appreciate the suggestions. My parents’ disabilities is such a hard topic for me. I was that person who thought I’d never get married because of being a caregiver for over 10-years to them, no one would want the burden of being with someone who has this lifestyle, etc. So, now that the time has come, I want to make everything as “perfect” and pleasant for everyone, as possible. I just don’t want my parents to feel bad or a burden, since they feel that way everyday of their lives, anyway.
Post # 10
I wouldn’t invite her partner, as she is there as an attendent not really as a guest. If you want her to attend as a guest with her spouse, maybe you have another worker present to attend to your parents.
I would also ask her to wear something nicer then scrubs, but something that she feels she can still work in (presuming she comes as an attendent). I think wearing scrubs will draw more attention to her and her capacity as an attendent. Rather then just a guest who happens to be helping your parents.
I also wouldn’t list her in the program. She is a facilitator for them, not a person deserving of a spotlight as someone you want to honour for their contribution at your wedding.
Would your dad be able to drive a power wheelchair? You can usually rent them from medical supply vendors for not too much money. It may be a way to have him walk you down the aisle and dance with you in a way that he can feel good about? It would also eliminate the problem with having the caregiver push two chairs. Of course if he has an impairment that would prohibit this or make it unsafe it wouldn’t work.
I am an occupational therapist, and helping people with disabilities participate in life activities is what we do. I also did an undergraduate degree in disability studies, so feel free to PM me if you have any questions, etc.
Post # 11
I have seen groomsmen accompany guests of honor to their seats during the procession in before walking in with the wedding party, so I don’t see why it would be a big deal for a groomsman to wheel your mom in.
With your Dad, it sounds like it may be more difficult, but perhaps you should talk to him about who he would like to push him down the aisle. Including your Dad in the decision may help him feel more independent. I’m sure it would be helpful to allow him to feel like he is in control of at least that.
Another idea with your Dad is to have him wait for you at the first row of chairs and then walk you a few steps. (Someone could follow behind him with his chair for the return ride or if he needs to sit down.) Another idea is for him to accompany you down the aisle in his chair and use a walker for the last few steps to hand you off to your Fiance.
With respect to the nurse, if she is going to be present as an aid to your parents, I would not invite her husband or send her an invitation.
With respect to attire, perhaps your mom could casually bring it up to her closer to your wedding date? If your mom said something like, “So what are you planning on wearing to the wedding?” and if she says scrubs, your mom could say something like, “Well, it would be nice if you could dress up since we will kind of be in the spotlight with BetterSherm getting married and all” or “Scrubs would be ok, but what about solid _______ colored ones so that look a bit more formal?”
Just a few ideas. 🙂
Post # 12
@andielovesj: Due to the insurance set up, we can only have on nurse “on staff” at a time, so we wouldn’t be able to have her and another nurse there. And, also due to insurance reasons, we can’t get my Dad a motorized wheel chair. We’ve been trying to and were denied for the graduation. And we can’t afford to rent one out-of-pocket.
@ChicChick: I like the idea of him walking the few steps, of course, if he feels up to it. It seems the most feasible without it becoming a big-to-do and battles of wheels.
I’ve been trying to bring this subject up to my parents, but they don’t want to talk about it. I want to start early with the conversations because I know it will be slow-going.