My Father, My Inspiration.
This is the inspiration behind why I started Senior Care With Grace. It all began with my Father, Bob Wallace:
In the beginning of 2019, just after seeing my Dad at Christmas, it became evident that the state of his health was alarming and was continuing to decline.
He was gravely ill with multiple organ failure. He was dependent on oxygen and was barely able to walk even short distances. At that point I decided to take my family to Michigan to visit him as many times as we could. However, the Covid pandemic began soon thereafter and with all the new restrictions in place, I did not know how long the pandemic would last, or how long my father my father would last.
We visited when he was discharged from one of his multiple hospital and rehab facility stays, which was the usual for him throughout that year. He was very limited with his mobility, then becoming wheelchair dependent for longer distances, still on oxygen and had edema/cellulitis in both of his legs.
He would end up weaker and less mobile after each hospitalization.
When my brother called and said “you need to come now, we don’t think that he will make it out of the hospital this time”. I grabbed my son, 22 at the time, who was leaving for basic training in the Air Force in six weeks… We headed back up to Michigan for what we thought might be the last time that my son or myself would see my father alive.
During trip we were able to go in and visit my father only one person at a time due to the ongoing pandemic. This was just before the “Delta variant surge” or vaccine availability.
With all of us at the hospital, visiting, spending 30-45 minutes at a time with my father, we found out that he was in kidney failure and was dying unless the decision was made to go on dialysis.
He had a lot of PTSD from dealing with dialysis with my mother and did not want to go through all that for himself. Thankfully, the technology had improved since then, so he was more optimistic that he could start with the traditional hemodialysis and transition to peritoneal dialysis when he was able to transition.
Unfortunately, during August of 2020, the continued cycle of home, hospital, and rehab would begin. I went back to see him in early October 2020. This time seeing him at yet another rehab facility. We were unable to go in and could only visit him at his window, with his wife and using a cell phone to talk to him. He was looking like he was just ready to give up at that point.
Due to the Covid policy during the pandemic, the facility would not even allow his wife in to visit. Every day that I was there he seemed to get worse. Between getting infections, increased inability to get out of bed by himself, refusing therapy because he was sick and did not feel well enough to participate. It was not looking good.
I was slowly watching him die right before my eyes.
I just knew he would not make it out of that facility alive unless I was able to arrange to get him on board to leave or take him out against medical advice. We had to be sure we had the ability to obtain the right caregiving help at home due to his weakness and increased need for more higher level of care.
My mission, with the help of my siblings, was to get a ramp, hospital bed, bedside commode, wheelchair cushion, tub chair, grab bars, bedside table, adult hygiene equipment etc.
I called the facility and talked to the discharge coordinator, a social worker to try to figure out how quickly we could get him discharged with the proper equipment at home.
I then spoke with an agency to get care for him 24/7 due to his worsened condition, that has been exacerbated by a bedsore due to lying in the bed all day or sitting in a wheelchair for prolonged periods of time.
Finding caregivers that were trustworthy, compassionate and caring people to take care of my father was the most difficult task to get him home quickly.
Luckily a family friend owned a caregiver agency and set me up with the right people. Ones that we could trust and give him the help that he needed. With the help of this caregiver company, I was able to obtain different services including different companies to be able to transport him from home to dialysis 3 days a week, since he was not able to transfer into a car, even with help, due to his weakness.
I was able to secure a discharge date and in case they would not let him out without his consent – or against medical advice – We hired the transport company that took him to the dialysis center and back to the rehab facility to instead take him to the house and not back to the facility.
FINALLY, right before he was leaving to go to dialysis the doctor and discharge planner spoke with him asking him if he was ok to leave and through the phone my sister and brother in law heard him saying yes, he wanted to go home.
We were able to get him the care he needed to stay at home with the services in place and live happily in his own home with his wife and family able to visit in person, and NOT through a window.
Operation FREE BOB was a success!!
The caregivers were one of the most essential parts of his survival, happiness, security and safety at home. They provided care, companionship, encouragement and the peace of mind for our family that he was safe and properly taken care of in his own home for the rest of his life.
He was empowered to maintain his dignity, he strived to get stronger, become more independent, and most importantly have trustworthy and compassionate caregivers for the rest of his life.