It takes a village — or a Court — to meet my needs

• By Mary Hepburn Nov 3, 2018
(Mary is in her 23rd year of writing for the North Platte Telegraph)

I wrote a column similar to this one six years ago. This is an updated thank you to all my caregivers. There are unsung and unseen heroes here at Linden Court who deserve my utmost thanks and praise. I am going to try to tell you just how they make my life so special. As you know, I spend as much time as I can outside. It takes an army to get me out the door. Just today, I was outside enjoying the beautiful day, twice. Receptionists Gloria, Caroline and Mary Jo are usually my “knights in shining armor” who help me for my outings.

That means:

» Changing glasses to sunglasses.

» Adding or subtracting shawls, depending on the weather.

» Making sure my jury-rigged drinking straw is reachable and my water bottle is full.

And if that’s not enough, the receptionist sets my timer, and makes sure I can maneuver my hand to drive my electric wheelchair. Whew! I don’t know about you, but I am worn out just explaining it. It makes me think of the little kid that is all bundled up in his snowsuit and then announces, “I have to go potty, Mommy.”

Other people who may be around and get called on to assist me include Jane, Danita, Theresa, Debi, or even the administrator, Nolan.

The nurses are important to my care, but the other employees add to the enrichment of my life. One of them, Kathy, who has been described as “good as gold” is responsible for housekeeping and laundry. She is awesome. What that means to me is:
» My room is vacuumed every day.

» My clothes are cleaned, folded and returned to the right drawer, thanks to the help of my CNAs.

I am a little persnickety about my things. They understand that and do their best to meet my needs. I appreciate that. My CNAs do more than my special laundry. The Chestnut Street gals are top notch. Pam has an efficient crew in the kitchen. Brooke makes sure that my love of hash browns is met. The kitchen prepares three wonderful, nutritious meals every day. If I don’t like what is on the menu or want something different, all I have to do is ask. I have restorative therapy with Diana, Sylvia and Kim and the activities class run by Emily to thank for the movement I now enjoy with my hands. On Sundays, Kristen organizes a travelogue series. The transportation crew takes me not only to my appointments, but they take me to church each Sunday. Steve, Jay or Jake come at the drop of a hat when I call to put up a shelf or even come to the aid of my computer.

As I reread what I have written, I realize just how high-maintenance I am and how many people it takes to get me through just one day! Now multiply that by the number of residents in Linden Court. Quite remarkable, isn’t it?

Thanks to all of you.

(Published in the North Platte Telegraph newspaper and re-printed with permission)

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