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Keep PeopleCare in the Wings

Evelyn (81) called PeopleCare to inquire about taking her husband, Tony, to MacNeal Hospital for cancer treatments in the event he was not able to drive himself. He had recently been diagnosed with lymphoma. Ange assured her we could help out and spent most of that first phone call just listening. Evelyn was distraught about her husband, even as her own health deteriorated. They have one daughter, in Northern Wisconsin, she must work, so they had no help close at hand.

She began calling PeopleCare just to talk and tell us about Tony’s condition. Ange gave Evelyn her home phone number because she was afraid what they might do if they couldn’t find a ride on the weekend. The phone became Evelyn’s security blanket…she would call 2 or 3 times per week. In November Tony changed doctors and began going to Northwestern. He continued to drive himself for treatments until he eventually became too weak, at which time, Northwestern sent a hospital courtesy car to pick him up for treatments and doctor visits, as well as frequent hospitalizations.

Evelyn called just to talk and “to keep PeopleCare in the wings in case she needed us.” Ange referred her to SW Suburban Center on Aging to help answer questions about nursing homes and home healthcare. Evelyn became very upset because she couldn’t afford any help.

It was the end of February and Tony’s doctors finally hospitalized him and told Evelyn it probably wouldn’t be long before Tony could no longer fight the fight. Their daughter came to stay with them for 4-5 days…but Tony lingered and their daughter had to return home.

Evelyn was alone again and asked if Shepherds could drive her to Northwestern to see Tony. Although we don’t normally do that, we bent the rules so she could see him before he died. We were lucky…Ken Mooney said yes and drove her one day. Harold Verdak, another Shepherds volunteer said he’d take her the following week. Believe it or not, Tony was sent home. Evelyn called Ange practically everyday even though a home health nurse came daily. Ange also continued giving her numbers to call…SW Suburban Council on Aging, Staying-At-Home and more.

Now it’s March and Tony is on his way back to the hospital, sent by the home nurse, because all his blood counts were so low. Evelyn never saw him again…Tony died two days later. A neighbor drove her to the hospital when Evelyn received the call. She said she felt better after she saw him, “because he was still warm.”

Ange told her we would stay in touch and that we could certainly help her with her own rides to Loyola. She calmed down some…cause Tony always took her.

Evelyn called to say she received a very thoughtful sympathy card from PeopleCare.