More than a Caretaker
For Sally Cook, Monona, and her parents, Bob and Karen Havlicek, Palmer Home Health has been a part of their family for over 20 years. A quadriplegic from the chest down due to a car accident in 1980, Palmer Home Health joined her family at the beginning of their journey.
“My aide, Carol Knox, has been with me from the get-go,” Cook explains. “Coming five days a week right away in the morning, I can’t imagine my life without her.”Cook’s mother chimes in, “Palmer Home Health, and especially Carol, provides me with time. I’m Sally’s sole caregiver and when Carol comes, I get to relax a little. I have time to get other things done with the break she provides.”
Continuing Havlicek laughs, “Like all mother-daughter relationships, Sally and I need a break or we would drive each other insane! Plus, Carol gives us someone else to talk to about things going on. She is a part of our family.” Knox provides personal cares for Cook, such as showers, getting dressed, therapy on legs and assisting in transporting Cook to her wheelchair. Other home health aides can provide services such as cleaning, shopping and cooking; however, the doting mom will have none of that.
“I’m capable of cooking and cleaning for Sally, my husband and myself. The help that I need involves personal cares for Sally, so that is where Carol comes in.”In addition to Knox, a nurse visits Cook every two months to check vitals and answer any questions the family may have. This makes it easier for the family than having to load Cook and the wheelchair each time to visit a doctor. Due to federal waivers, the family has been lucky to update their home to make it wheelchair assessable, such as larger doorways, ramps, specialized bathroom equipment and a transport van. “We get our supplies from Palmer Home Medical Supply,” Cook explains. “They deliver and even do the setup. The great thing is that our nurse and aide work directly with Palmer Home Medical to get what we need. It makes it so easy for us!”
Doing bookwork for her brother’s company, Cook is using her accounting and computer programming background from the comfort of her home. When not working, Cook enjoys puzzles and fishing. “I know I would be in a nursing home if not for Palmer Home Health,” Cook says. “I wouldn’t be able to do half the things that I’m doing right now in the comfort of my own home.”
And, while words can’t express the appreciation Cook has since she is able to remain in her home, what she is most thankful at what they have gained from their relationship with Palmer Home Health. “Carol and I are friends. She is SO much more than my aide,” Cook smiles.