Unfortunately, a few of those memories included Clarence battling prostate cancer and, now, at 87 years old, Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). After several re-admissions to St. Clair Hospital due to a heart attack and ministroke, he spent last November and December in rehab at Concordia of the South Hills. “If you had to be sick, it’s a good place to go,” he said.
His discharge led him to home health care through Concordia Visiting Nurses.
Helen said, “It was so reassuring to have the wonderful nurses and therapists coming to check on him and encourage him to get into an exercise routine.” Clarence has been home since January, and until March, the nurses came several times a week. A physical therapist even helped Clarence with his balance. Helen noted that in the year prior to becoming a Concordia patient, he had fallen at least nine times.
Helen and Clarence were in the same class at South Hills High School and served on the senior high picnic committee, but it wasn’t until he returned from his military service years that he met her again on the trolley and they began dating.
Following high school graduation Clarence served in the US Air Force for four years during the occupation of Japan and Korean War.
After leaving the service Clarence attended the University of Pittsburgh on the GI Bill and earned a degree in electrical engineering. He worked for Bell Telephone Company until his retirement.
After being so busy, he’s happy to know he has a steady friend in Concordia.
“My Concordia nurses (and therapists) wouldn’t rush in and out. They took their time, did their job and answered ALL my questions,” Clarence reported.
The occupational therapist checked and re-checked his activities of daily living until she was sure he could shower himself without fear of falling. And she taught him how to make life with a walker a little easier.
Besides the quality of care Clarence and Helen received, they marveled at the safety and security they felt with Clarence’s TeleHealth monitor. “I couldn’t be taking him to a doctor or to the hospital every day,” said Helen. The monitor reported his vital signs and weight directly to his health professionals at Concordia. If they noticed anything that was a little suspicious they knew exactly what to do.
The couple was so impressed with the competence and kindness of everyone who came into their home that Helen believes every person who goes to college should be required to have a course in caregiving.
“Sometime in your life you or a loved one becomes ill,” she noted. “I didn’t know how to take a blood pressure or check a Coumadin level,” until the nurses taught her.
“Concordia Visiting Nurses was like having a doctor or nurse in our family,” according to Helen. “They were on hand all the time.”
Since March, Clarence has had no swelling in his legs and feet and is faithful to his exercise routine. His wife said she knows he won’t get fully better, but the CHF is under control, and “I know who to call if we need help!”
Visiting nurses and in-home aides can help many people stay independent in their homes longer. For more information on how Concordia can help, call 1-877-352-6200 or visit www.ConcordiaVN.org.