When Ginny first came to us, chronic illness was winning the day. She was having a terrible time managing her diabetes, and combined with heart disease, she was finding it hard to walk. Her legs were so filled with fluid that they were actually leaking water. She was already prescribed a massive daily dose of insulin – five times the average dose! She had been in and out of the hospital as her symptoms worsened. Living alone, no family close by, what was Ginny going to do? The hospital wanted to release her, but she was going to need some help.
Fortunately, Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice was enlisted. When Cindy (LNA) first arrived, she helped Ginny bathe and dress – two activities that she had been struggling with due to her lack of mobility. Already she felt better. Her skin needed special attention – the diabetes had made her skin very brittle and the heart disease was allowing fluid to build up. Cindy applied lotion and special patches to keep her skin from breaking and the fluid from running down her legs.
The thing about home care is that the patient and the worker really get to know each other. So while Alyssa (OT) was helping Ginny’s mobility with some physical therapy, they chatted. Come to find out, Ginny’s major challenge was remembering to take her medicine. “Let’s see what we can do about that, Ginny” says Alyssa, who immediately grabbed her cell phone, did some research and found a tool that may ultimately have saved Ginny’s life. It is a “pill reminder” but this one allowed Alyssa to record her own voice.
Now, every day at 6am and 6pm, Ginny hears Alyssa (of whom she had grown very fond) saying “Ginny, it’s time for you to take your medicine.”
Ginny has not been back to the hospital since Central New Hampshire VNA and Hospice began her visits and found for her the one tool that finally worked.
Ginny has since moved back to North Carolina where she had lived for years. But she misses “her girls.” In fact she says “You guys helped me out a lot. You are one of the things I really miss from New Hampshire.” She still sends cards to Cindy. One consolation – she still hears Alyssa’s voice every day, twice a day. And now Ginny is winning, not her illness. She continues to remain at home, out of the hospital, and healthy enough to manage her own life once again.