Updated: Jun 25, 2019
When I first met Laura, she appeared to be fine, yet when I looked at her medical file I realized that this was far from the truth. It was her spunk, determination, and upbeat attitude that kept her going. She suffered from severe arthritis, renal disease, and family difficulties. Early in our relationship, family wasn't there for her. She lived alone with her cat. When she needed a knee replacement, she worried about who would care for it. I volunteered and kitty lived with me for weeks. During my visits I would routinely listen to her lungs. Once, I didn't like what I heard. The doctor was called and I voiced my concern. She was seen that day and diagnosed with pneumonia. We caught it just in time. Over the years, we've researched many topics ranging from special diets to property tax abatement. (Usually I've done the research and she's made the decisions.) Eventually, we had to deal with her energy decline due to increased pain and frailty. We discussed Meals on Wheels. She now receives them regularly and truly enjoys them. During an emergency hospitalization she received many units of blood, so many in fact; she could never receive blood again. This meant trips to the hospital every two weeks. Even with these visits I saw lab values getting worse and worse. Her blood count was precipitously low. What did her doctor say? The answer was startling: Nothing. We called her specialist, her primary care physician, and the hospital. Communication was opened and a new plan of care was developed. This now requires weekly visits to the hospital. Despite the inconvenience, she insists these appointments have been a blessing in disguise. She has never been so close to her daughter-in-law, who drives her every time. They have a â€œgirl's day out" and really enjoy themselves. Should these trips ever become burdensome to the family, we'll be there to make a referral. We continue to monitor her overall well-being and will alter her plan of care when necessary. Her health may be sliding and her mobility may be decreasing, but her attitude is more upbeat than ever. ~J.P.