Sacramento Magazine March 2021

Page 46

photography by ryan angel meza

who

cares

A frank and intimate new book by a local writer chronicles the strains of unpaid caregiving and illuminates how our culture overlooks and undervalues caregivers.

W

riter Kate Washington was a 42-year-old with a bustling freelance career and two young daughters when her husband, Brad Buchanan, was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma that set off a series of health crises—including high-risk surgeries, life-threatening infections and temporary blindness—that left him permanently disabled. Already carrying the mental load for her household, Washington was thrust, with no warning and scant preparation, into the role of caregiver for her spouse. The experience, which she writes about with intrepid candor and profuse empathy in her book, “Already Toast: Caregiving and Burnout in America,” left her physically and emotionally depleted and robbed of her individual identity. Washington’s plunge into extreme caregiving brought into clear focus how our country’s policies, its culture and its tenuous systems of support have failed families on multiple levels. Weaving literary examples of caregiving throughout her prose, she makes a compelling case for fundamentally transforming how we do the important and necessary work of caring for one another.

by catherine warmerdam

46

SACRAMENTO MAGAZINE March 2021