Leading a Happy Life Against All Odds

March 4, 2021
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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CB is a 21-year-old who needs 24/7 care. When he was a baby, he was involved in a severe car accident, where he sustained traumatic brain and neck injuries. Today, he has a dedicated team of home caregivers who are happy to assist him in any way they can. One of them is Care Options for Kids registered nurse (RN), Jacob Cowin. “I’ve been a nurse since October 2019,” he explains, “and with Care Options for Kids since February 2020 — and thankfully, I’ve been with CB since then.”

Cowin enjoys taking care of CB because he seems to always be in a good mood. “Every morning, I sit him in his wheelchair and we go for a walk at a park near his house. There’s a beautiful pond and trees, and he really loves the sights. He also perks up at the sounds of birds and the traffic going by and turns around to look where they’re coming from.”

On a typical day, Cowin arrives at CB’s house, bathes him, feeds him, and they play together. “He loves throwing toys around. His favorite one is a Lassie stuffed dog,” he laughs. “He’ll throw it, squealing and laughing — which I prefer over when he throws his sippy cup!” Cowin also likes to play the violin for him. “He loves all kinds of music, and it makes me happy to play some for him,” he recounts. “It’s also a good way to wake him up from his naps — although I try to keep him up as much as possible throughout the day so that he has a good sleep schedule at night.”

In addition to going on walks, playing with his toys, and listening to music, Cowin also takes care of his medications and range-of-motion exercises. “Even though he’s non-verbal, it’s really easy to know if he’s feeling happy or grumpy,” he explains. He’ll smile when he’s enjoying himself, but whenever I brush his teeth, wash his face, or comb his hair, he scrunches up his lips and looks away,” he laughs.

CB has a very tight-knit family, so he’s aware he’s surrounded by love every day. “His grandparents, sisters, and nephews come over daily to visit him, and we all sit together in the lanai in the evenings. He really enjoys it.” Despite his circumstances, CB is inspirational. “One of the things I love the most is that he’s always smiling — he’s a happy person.” And that’s one of the main reasons he chose his career path. “Being able to help someone directly is so fulfilling for me. I am happy I get to do this.”