Thanking The All-Stars of Care-giving

Thanking The All-Stars of Care-giving

- March 17, 2020

Our trail has evened out a little and we’ve encountered some wonderful helpers as we’ve struggled down this rugged path. You’ll understand why this week’s blog is later than usual.

After observing the Wellspan Rehab doctors, nurses, nurse assistants and Therapists for nearly two weeks, we are filled with awe and appreciation with how hard they work, physically and skillfully. They are stars in our book. Dr. Motter and Dr. Contract, Kathy, Norma, Joselyn, Lauren, Hope, Haley, Stephanie, Debra. Karen, Erin and many others.

Jim asks their names and where they’re from. He teases them and gives pet names. His smiling request to them is for a Dr. Pepper and quesadillas. The staff has been so kind, generous and understanding to allow the family to pamper Jim and allowing us to do as much for him ourselves as is possible.

We both give them high scores for how tenaciously they help him to walk, stand, pivot to sit in the wheelchair, teach him how to swallow, use his hands, eat without choking or drinking safely, transport him to the bathroom or to bed. Dressing him from head to toe, giving him all the meds and making sure he is not in pain or in need of something. They are all positive and seem never to be discouraged. No matter what mess they have to clean up they never scold. He considers them all new friends. We are aware that they work long shifts; have spouses and children at home or appointments to keep themselves. We are learning from them what we will need to be doing at home. Then a couple of friends donated their youth, strength and concern on a Sunday afternoon to move furniture to ready the house for Hospice Care.

On Monday of our final week when we had appointments with the social worker and Hospice personnel, our son, David, and I were told that no visitors would be allowed. “That can’t be", I wailed, we have appointments and have much to do to get him ready to go home.”  I just couldn’t bear the thought that Jim would be without me and I’d be unable to encourage him. After a few calls to doctors and the Brain Injury unit, we were permitted to go up for a couple hours, escorted by a guard to make sure we went where we said we would. Then, the doctor on duty, said we could spend the day. Our situation was made an exception in this crisis.

The unit flew into action and said we’ll get you discharged today! And they meant it. “Relax, Ruth, don’t worry about anything.”  Kathy and Dr. Motter were paramount in encouraging me. I’ll forever be grateful.  Sure enough, by 5 pm Jim was transported by ambulance to our home where the Hospice bed had arrived not long before. Our daughter, Kay, was on hand to receive them and get everything set up. We are so comforted and blessed by the outpouring of cards, gifts, phone calls from friends, neighbors, church family, Optimist Club, JCC Aquatics friends and Blog family.

Undergirding us have been these verses: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isa. 41:10

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you: And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you…For I am the LORD your God…your Savior. Isa. 43:2,3 (NKJVV)

Jim is our family's all-star. We’re looking ahead to his celebration of life service whenever that might occur. We would invite anyone who would want to write a tribute or something they especially remember to send it in the next two weeks to granddaughter, Katy’s email:

Notebook: Next week we’ll switch the focus from us to you readers for a review of communication skills. Lowering Expectations is first, which seems to be the most prominent nuisance in dealing with people you know, live or work with or are getting to know.