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Journeys

Where There Is Sadness, There Is Still Trust And Gratitude

By: CK Barth, RCH Marketing and Community Liaison

The families and friends of loved one lost during Covid-19 are just beginning to heal.

The Rim Country Health & Rehabilitation (RCH) Team is just beginning to heal.

I had the honor of speaking with a daughter, whose father was a resident at RCH for 14 years.   She talked openly about her loved one’s journey.  Eager to share memories, we laughed, and wanted to cry, but mostly we enjoyed remembering her loved one.

Meet Bobbe.  Bobbe is a former employee of RCH.  And, was a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in RCHs Restorative Care unit for many years.  Bobbe is now our “neighbor” as the marketing director at Powell Place.

Bobbe, named after her dad Bob, shared that her father’s journey began over thirty-five years ago, when she was only 14, living in Idaho. “He had a massive brain injury and I remember my older brother having two minutes to make a decision about whether or not he thought my father would want life support if the surgery wasn’t a success.  Knowing my dad, my brother’s response was ‘no’.”

Bob made it through the surgery and rehabilitation therapy was prescribed at a skilled nursing facility in Idaho.  Bobbe recalls, “My dad’s brother selected the facility.  Back then, three men shared a room and had lockers for their belongings.  When I got my driver’s license and would drive to visit with my dad for lunch and stay as long as I could every chance I had.”

Then, Bobbe moved to Payson AZ where her mom and sister lived.  She saw less of her dad as her life evolved with her marriage and the start of her family.  Fifteen years went by quickly and she and her siblings were able to acquire shared guardianship over her dad.  “I knew I had to move him closer to me.  When I arrived to get him, he had a beard that reached his belly button.  The care was substandard to say the least.”

Proudly, Bobbe shared, “I went to get my Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) because of my dad. I was determined that I would get established at Rim Country Health & Rehabilitation, then I would move him.”

Not having that regular contact over the years, as she did in Idaho, Bobbe discovered that her dad’s condition was more advanced and his memory and capabilities limited.  “I researched his medical history, confirmed some suspicions and reviewed the meds he’d been taking in Idaho.”

“My kids were young, but so excited to have their grandfather closer and part of their lives.  I’d have them come to RCH and visit not only my dad, but other residents, too.  My dad transitioned very well to RCH and began to build new relationships with the staff and other residents.  He loved that I dressed him up every year for Halloween.”

“It was great for me, too…” Bobbe says, “He was now in my world, part of daily care and daily life.  As an adult, I now had my dad.”  It was a convenient move as Bobbe was able to care for RCH residents and keep an eye on Bob, too.  “He quickly developed his routine, put on his baseball cap and had Cokes delivered to him at a specific time each day; and…he endeared himself to everyone, even when he was challenging.”

Bob was a long-term care resident at RCH for 14 years.

“I remember the day I got THE call.  Based on his past, every inch of me knew he’d be strong enough to fight off everything.”

Her dad had a positive test result for Covid-19 and was moved to the “active” unit for four days.  “The following two days his oxygen levels dropped to a very low level. All I thought was ‘it’s decision time’ and reached out to my siblings.”

Bobbe was under the same guidelines for safety precautions at Powell Place so she made the decision to visit outside the window of her dad’s room.  She was able to have her son and close friend (and former Restorative Care unit colleague) at her dad’s bedside frequently.  “That was the hardest thing for me, but I trusted the love and care RCH and my son and my friend provided through the end of his life.”

“When I look back, moving my dad was the best move for him to make and a much better experience living at RCH, for 14 years.”

The day Bob passed away she was outside his window.  A peaceful passing, but with a huge heart ache as she then embraced her son and her friend before heading to her mom’s house.  “You know, there was a unique thing that happened that day. During his passing a ‘teenage” elk walked down the driveway, at RCH, near the window of my dad’s room.  As I left the RCH parking lot, that same elk jumped out in front of me and ‘escorted’ me to my mom’s house, minutes away. When I reached my mom’s, the elk turned and jumped away.”

Bobbe emotionally said, “He had a good life!  His RCH family loved him and I’m so thankful! I never questioned the care he received there.  I trusted them and their love for my dad.  I would refer RCH to anyone looking for a skilled nursing facility today.”

“With all that RCH was faced with…God bless them.
They are our true heroes.”

Read another Journey Story about Dee Dee