How a Caretaker Takes Care of Herself (Insider story)
“I love taking care of people,” says Kim Rice, and her enthusiasm for helping comes through in the ways how she talks about what she does: it’s a blessing and a joy, not a burden.
Kim works for a school district in Southern California, focusing on issues of child welfare and attendance, including suspensions and transfer students; she also works with homeless and foster youth. “Whenever I talk to someone on the phone, it’s someone who cares,” she says. “Whether it’s about something bad the student did or if it’s because they want to get into the district, or whether they’re in need of a gas card or help in finding a place to stay. I’m blessed to have that job. It’s stressful sometimes, but I’m just glad that I can help people in this way—it’s so rewarding.”
Outside of work, Kim also takes care of her 91-year-old father and 84-year-old mother. “I consider myself lucky in terms of being the one to take them to dinner every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday, and to all their doctors and grocery shopping,” she says. And for a while, when she lived in the high desert, she also had animals to tend to, including chickens, miniature horses, and fainting goats—which, she says with a laugh, really do stiffen up and fall over when they’re startled or scared. “I need humor in my life, so that’s why I like them,” she says with a laugh.
“I’m very fortunate to be able to help people,” Kim says, “But I’m very stressed myself, so my Sleep Number bed is wonderful.” It helps her relax and rest and enjoy some downtime—as it does for her fiancé, Rick, who commutes two and a half hours each day. “I told him, you deserve this, to be able to sleep. It’s good for both of us,” Kim says.
The couple had been looking for a bed that would help them in different ways: Rick wanted to be able to raise his head and Kim, who has some lower back issues, wanted to raise her feet. “The minute I laid on that 360 bed, my whole body just felt like it was floating,” Kim says. “I went, ‘My gosh, there’s no other.’ We did go around and look at others after that, but it was like comparing a Pinto to a Cadillac—it’s such a difference in quality. It probably will outlast me and I’ll need to put it in my will.”
What’s your Sleep Number setting? Kim’s is 60 (but sometimes goes as low as 45) and Rick’s is 75.
If you could sleep anywhere in the world, where would it be? On an island like Hawaii, away from everything. That sounds so soothing.
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