(623) 934-2722 shudson@aginginaz.com

MaryLou loved hummingbirds. This was evident as soon as you entered her apartment. From figurines to dishes, blankets to window charms, everything in her apartment was hummingbird oriented. When her daughter, Jennifer, reached out to us, MaryLou was in the hospital. She had fallen at home and was struggling with low blood pressure due to a long-time heart condition. Jennifer worked as a caregiver at an in-home care agency, and she had worked with our team when she was working for an aging client.

When we met with her in the waiting room of the hospital, she was very distressed. Her mom had always been in good health but often had claimed issues with her heart, whether palpitations or pain in her heart area and down her arm. Trips to the emergency room were increasing and doctors said that she did not have a heart attack, but they did worry because she was often tachycardic (fast heart rate) but also had low blood pressure.

We talked with Jennifer in the waiting room and told her we would be happy to help her and her mom. We then met with MaryLou who was smiling when we walked into the room. She was holding her car keys and she had a hummingbird charm on the ring of keys. I connected with her right away as I also love hummingbirds. We talked about which hummingbirds had started showing up at her spring feeders and what she was doing to attract more of them. While visiting, her doctor stopped by to update her about their recommended next steps.

They asked who I was and asked MaryLou if I should leave the room. She said, “No, no, no, she’s here to hear what you’re saying and tell me if I should do that.” A little rush of secondhand embarrassment wiped over me, but the doctor’s eyes met mine and I knew that they understood that I was there to help MaryLou take the next steps. They explained that the scans showed that nothing had been broken, this was excellent news. They did indicate that they didn’t know why the blood pressure was so low and if it was going to continue dropping. They told her they would like to keep her at the hospital for two more days and then would discuss sending her to a rehab facility for some physical therapy to help build strength in her legs and abdominal core.

After they left the room, she voiced despair at wanting to go home and be there for her visiting hummingbirds and she wanted to be comfortable. We discussed the situation and I let her know that I would personally be willing to stop by her place and make sure that the hummingbird feeders were full and if they needed more nectar, I would make some for them. She seemed so relieved. This little thing was going to help her increase her strength and focus on her own care and know that her little friends were also cared for.

We worked with Jennifer to sign agreements to operate as Marylou’s care management providers and I started by accompanying Jennifer to MaryLou’s apartment to look over the feeding arrangement and make sure that everything was over. After checking on things, Jennifer went home to feed her kids and work on a school project with them and I stopped back by MaryLou’s hospital room to show her the photos I snapped on my phone of a rufous hummingbird. She was delighted and said it was the first one to visit this year. I could tell she was at ease and ready to focus on the next steps. I told her I would stop back the next day when Jennifer was there for a visit, and we’d all talk about the next steps.

I supported her for the next month by bringing photos and even finding a hummingbird feeder that suctioned to the window outside her rehab room. She focused hard on building strength and the doctors met with her several times. Ultimately, they decided that a pacemaker would be a good idea and schedule a procedure. This required a bit of extra time in the rehab facility, but it was much easier for her since I was making sure the hummingbirds were properly taken care of.

We continued as her care manager for nearly a decade more and were able to help several times with the hummingbirds.

If you need a care manager who takes care of the WHOLE client, we are here to help you. Providing peace of mind about something small like a hummingbird was priceless for MaryLou and removing that concern helped her heal and take care of herself as needed.