Face Masks and FaceTime

Today was a good day. I visited two clients, a husband and wife of 60+ years, in their home. I’ve been visiting them, providing care management support and services, for several years. This past year I’ve been with them through two hospitalizations, one rehab stint, numerous medical appointments, and more. Today we made our way through two telehealth appointments, one “on-screen” with her doctor, one “telephonic” with his cardiac nurse practitioner.

Before COVID-19, I visited with them at least weekly and sometimes a few times a week. We’ve enjoyed several lunches after endlessly long morning appointments. We’ve made our way through summer storms, cold weather and spring pollen. I’ve collected pearls of wisdom from them.

Since early April, we’ve mostly spoken by phone and navigated one in-person telehealth video visit with a new specialist. Today felt like a new beginning though. I want to continue to help them stay well and stay safe, and after almost two months of “stay at home” orders, be there for them in all the ways a good care manager should. They need to be in touch with their healthcare providers even while staying safe at home.

This morning, I gathered my disposable gloves, a disposable mask, hand sanitizer and reduced my “work bag” to my phone, a small notebook, a pen and my car key. I would never want to be responsible for exposing my clients to anything that could harm them, and especially not this scary virus.

I was so happy to see them, and I think they were glad to see me too. I promised them that I had come straight from my home which is a “safe zone”. Instead of sitting with her on the sofa, I sat in a chair 6-8 feet away. Gloves on, I did help her don and remove her blood pressure cuff. And I got her a cup of water. And I washed my hands more than a few times. I helped them talk with their healthcare providers and shared information back and forth as we confronted this brave new world of medicine by IPhone. He is almost 87 years old; she is 90. They are awesome, going with the flow of face masks and FaceTime.

I hope I helped them today because, no doubt, they helped me. He planted a new flower bed that greeted me as I drove up their driveway. She delighted in sharing her Mother’s Day card that she just received from her son. Between medical calls this morning, we visited, and I confirmed that some local strawberries and a couple of ripe tomatoes would be a great gift to drop off tomorrow or Saturday.

I gave them my word that I am here for them, and that I will do everything I can to protect them. He asked me if I have a few extra masks, which I was so happy to say that I do. I promised to drop off a few and he said, just drop them in the mail because he knows I’m busy. Never too busy for you, sir.