Last winter, after retiree William Denton was discharged from a hospital where he was treated for a serious gland infection, he went to Sea Pines Rehabilitation near his winter home in Melbourne, Florida, to convalesce for a few weeks. “He got real weak from the (gland) infection, he was very ill,” recalls William’s wife, Anne Marie.
When he was strong enough to return home, his doctor at Sea Pines advised home health services and recommended VNA. Soon, a team of clinicians were visiting his home that included a physical therapist. While stronger than when he first entered Sea Pines, William was still weak from both his infection and an autoimmune disease that he’s suffered from for two decades, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP).
Since it began 20 years ago, William’s CIDP has become progressively worse, negatively impacting his mobility, and he now basically no longer has use of his legs. However, he can still move his arms, and the physical therapist was able to help him strengthen them and increase their maneuverability. “He was not as ambulatory as he was before (the hospital), so we had to learn a lot of new things,” says Anne Marie, who helps William with his daily activities, including getting into the shower where there is a bench for him to sit on. “I learned so much from the physical therapist,” she adds.
So did William. “I can (now) stand up for a couple of minutes,” he says with a smile.
Life post-Sea Pines was progressing well until William started passing blood and ended up back in the hospital where he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Doctors quickly performed surgery to remove the malignant tumor, and afterward, William started chemotherapy. Upon discharge, with his body weakened from the chemotherapy (which was ongoing), he began receiving VNA home health services a second time. Once again, it included physical therapy, and once again, William was pleased with the quality of care. “The physical therapist was quite good,” says William. “She was very encouraging and trained me to do different exercises.”
He also received wound care as he had several sores on his legs and bed sores from sitting in the hospital, and was very grateful to the nurse, Lisa, who provided the care. “She was the best,” he says.
With Lisa’s help, his sores have all but healed. “There’s just one small spot that Lisa checked this past week,” he says.
And there’s more good news. His doctors are fairly certain William’s cancer is completely gone, but will require a cystoscopy, a procedure to look inside the bladder using a small camera, a cystoscope, to confirm that. This may take a few weeks, though, as William recently contracted COVID-19 and has to wait until he’s well enough to undergo anesthesia, which he is extremely frustrated about. Not only is he anxious to get the cystoscopy over with, but he and Anne Marie – self-declared snowbirds – cannot wait to return to their ‘real’ home. “We need to go home which is up north,” says William. “Our caregivers are pretty much our large family (six children, 18 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren), but they’re all in New York State. We need to go there as soon as we can.”