The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Letter to the Editor

A Wonderful Experience

I'm sharing this story with you so that you can be aware of the choices you and your love one have.

It was a wonderful experience that my brother Tom and I encountered in choosing the care that saved our dad's life.

We had shared Power of Health for our dad since 2002, when he appointed us, and always found the best care for him.

As parents get older your siblings and you will have to help them make decisions. We feel that this one saved our dad's life!

It was 6:00 a.m. on March 24, that I received a call that an ambulance had been called for our dad. Rushing to his house we found him in extreme abdominal pain. Lomax Ambulance worked swiftly to transport him to Great River Medical Center.

When he reached the hospital they began to run tests and x-rays finding that it might be his appendix or a blocked bowel. The emergency room told us that our dad needed surgery to determine what was causing such severe pain.

Our dad, being 85 years old, and on blood thinners, for his pacemaker, was at high risk. All we could do was to sign the papers and pray that God was with him and our family.

We had to wait several hours for the medications to thicken our dad's blood. At 7:00 p.m. he finally made it into surgery. Soon after the nurse came out to tell us it was his appendix and it had ruptured. She said that a larger incision had to be made, opening him up all the way to clean out the infection which had started to settle around his small intestine.

After what seemed to be an eternity we were informed that a surgical team had to insert a breathing tube to help him breath. After seeing him and knowing he was alright, we left the hospital at 11:00 p.m. After 17 hours all we could think about was the long road ahead of us.

Over the next week our dad was very weak. He could not get up by himself or even feed himself.

The surgeon came in one week to the day of surgery and looked at his wound. As we stood there and watch our worst fear hit us, he had infection. They opened the wound and infectious water flowed out of him. The wound gaped open 14 centimeters long and 7 centimeters wide. I was too afraid to see how deep it was but, dad said he could see what he had for breakfast.

Open wounds are assessable to staph infections if not handled correctly. Knowing that we had to act fast to save his life as Tom's father-in-law had passed away of a similar circumstance. We ask the surgeon to set up an appointment with a wound care specialist.

We knew that Oak Lane Nursing and Rehab had skilled care nursing and specialized in wound care, so we asked our dad where he wanted to recuperate at Great Rivers Skilled Care or Oak Lane? He finally decided he would go to Oak Lane as Medicare would cover his next 100 days of skilled care and he would be closer to home.

On April 2nd, Oak Lane came to the hospital with their bus and picked our dad up transferring him to Stronghurst.

Everyone at the nursing home knows Tom and I, and really welcomed dad with open arms as we started our journey to heal our father together. That night was the first that I felt our dad was safe and being well taken care of. I knew he wasn't waiting for someone to take him to the bathroom, he would be eating good, was not being over medicated and that the staff was making sure he was clean and shaven.

We would not have the attitude of people telling us, "Well he is 85 years old". What is that supposed to mean that he is too old to save?

At first Oak Lane had to transport him back and forth to doctor appointments as he could not wear a lap belt. Richard would even meet me at Carman Cemetery so I could jump on the bus with dad and ride to his appointments.

Oak Lane went far and above their duty to insure our dad was comfortable. They wiped our tears and put us back on our feet again, too. Richard found out that our mother's birthday was April 15; we lost our mother in 2001. He personally took dad down to the cemetery so dad could pay his respects. He told our dad to take as long as he needed to stay at the grave site. I have never heard of a nursing home administrator that would personally do this for a resident.

Our dad was spoiled daily with soft serve ice cream cones, excellent food, the wonderful Easter dinner we shared with my father on Easter Day, Irene's Hawk Eye paper that she brought into him everyday, a spotless clean warm room, clean clothes washed by the lovely Sandy B., activities asking him to come and play, the volunteer that come to Oak Lane bringing fresh water and hand towels. The physical therapy team was getting him back up on his feet again, and a director of nursing, nurses and CNA staff that I feel is the best in Illinois.

As weeks went by the wound became smaller and smaller. Dr. Arnold, the wound care specialist at Burlington, Iowa, commented that the nurses at Oak Lane do an outstanding job with wound care.

Dr. Arnold's said that he had worked with Oak Lane nurses in the past with patients that had encountered open wounds and together they have healed many patients. The comment made by him was, "They are excellent"!

Finally on May 22 only 7 weeks and two days since he was admitted to Oak Lane our dad came home. It took only 50 days to get our dad to a point that they could put a wound vac machine on the remaining opening bringing what was left of the wound together at the top. Dr. Arnold had said in the beginning that it would take every bit of his 100 days plus to heal dad's wound. The staff at Oak Lane proved they could do it in less.

I write this article to remind people what a blessing we have in Henderson County. Oak Lane is not only a nursing home it is also a Rea unit. I personally know when we first mentioned nursing home to dad he was afraid he would never come home. The day we left he didn't want to leave because everyone was so wonderful to him. As everyone told him good-bye and we walked out I knew if dad ever had to come back he had lost that fear of so called, nursing homes.

If you know of someone that needs care for any reason: physical therapy, open wounds or just added rest, Oak Lane Nursing and Rehab is skilled and a Medicare approved facility. Let your loved one spend their Medicare days in an environment that helps them get well faster with a family touch.

Part of healing is the personal attention you get that every staff members gives at Oak Lane Nursing and Rehab.

Daughter of Robert K. Doran
Diana Isaacson