Sally Wooldridge's husband was cared for by the Riverside Walter Reed Home Health team.
I trained and worked as an Occupational Therapist. But even with a background in health care it can be overwhelming when someone you love is going through a medical crisis. And my husband went through quite a few of them.
He had abdominal aortic aneurism surgery, colitis followed by colon surgery, a collapsed lung and a whole range of complications including an incisional hernia. He also had a PICC line and later, a central line for medications and nourishment. The Riverside Home Care team had their work cut out for them and they didn’t let us down.
The Home Care nurse monitored and managed the intravenous lines on regular visits and if we had any problems, which we did from time to time, she was on call beyond her regular schedule. They provided care for my husband over a five year period, so we got to know each other and even became familiar with each other’s families. What I realized was that along with the skilled medical care, the team was also providing me with some needed emotional support.
There were some good times during those years. Family, church friends and neighbors would come by and that always cheered him up. He enjoyed the company and was glad to have visitors in his own home. But he really missed being able to do his home improvement work along with hunting and fishing and just being able to get around. So he had some tough days, too. But the care team had a lot of patience and compassion with him no matter what kind of day it was.
I really couldn’t say enough about the care they gave him and how these people who were strangers at first came into our house and became friends. There were times I honestly feel like they helped make our lives worth living and at the very least helped us maintain our sanity.
But what stands out the most for me is that fact that the care they provided – and the way they provided it – helped him stay with us a little longer. We had a granddaughter born when my husband’s health started to deteriorate and because of the Riverside team he got to have a relationship with her. She gave him a lot of joy and since she was five when he passed she’ll have memories of him. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. And I know he wouldn’t either.