One of our residents Oom Heydenrych spent many weeks in hospital after a fall caused by a spontaneous hip fracture. While in the hospital whatever could possibly happen to him happened. I, the Health Care Manager received a call one morning from the sister in charge of the ward saying that there was really nothing that could be done for him and they were sending him home. He arrived home the following day, the transfer done by ambulance. What a shock we had when seeing him. He was malnourished, weak, had bedsores, rash, was incontinent and could not mobilize himself at all. He was totally bedridden.
Once welcomed back and settled we had a heart to heart chat and his biggest “hate" about his situation was that he had become independent and could not do anything for himself. I assured him that we would tackle that step by step and he would soon overcome. His reply, which I remember so clearly was that he was just too exhausted and he didn’t see it happening.
It was a Thursday and I told him that was not a problem as I was giving him until the Monday to rest when we would begin a program to help him become independent. He laughed and so we left Oom Heydenrych to rest doing the necessary.
Come the Monday the Care team met with Oom Heydenrych and his wife and together we devised a plan in helping Oom Heydenrych get back onto his feet. This took commitment and dedication from the team (6 of us) and we all took turns in assisting him, always working in pairs as the risk of him falling again was great. Oom Heydenrych’s recovery took total nursing care and he was truly a hero as he battled through many setbacks and obstacles in his quest to become independent.
With help from a physiotherapist, we had Oom Heydenrych out of bed, sitting up, taking a few steps.
Oom Heydenrych was our Hero, his courage, determination coupled with a sense of humour was truly inspirational. When feeling despondent and frustrated a day spent with his Pastor was medicine for the soul and he would bounce back. His wife was a pillar of strength through all of this and assisted where she could.
Oom Heydenrych overcame all the problems that he had arrived home with and eventually was able to take a few steps at a time and also by using his electric wheelchair was able to leave his flat on his own. In fact, there was a Sunday when he went missing and it later came out that he had gone to church without even telling his wife. A red flag was then put onto his chair so that he would be seen by motorists and Oom Heydenrych was free to leave his home whenever he desired.
Sadly Oom Heydenrych left us many months later due to heart failure. Our biggest reward was that while still with us Oom Heydenrych had managed to overcome and enjoy the time he had independently.
Story teller: Joan Cockrell, Certified Eden Associate (August 2015)
Community: Langverwag, Stellenbosch. 53 residents and 14 care employees