March 2, 2011

Snow Bound and Determined

Adams,-Dan-colorBy Dan Adams
Lighthouse Homecare

Often I tease our administrator, Cynthia Bostic, about her “over-preparedness” techniques. Generally if the weather is forecasted to be even slightly bad, she pulls out her “Quality Assurance Snow Prep” packet and goes to work. Her concern for caregivers and clients alike doesn’t stop at simply making sure top care is given. She’ll actually go through the list with the client and the caregiver to make sure all of her questions are answered. Do they have milk? How is their medicine supply? Do they have doctor appointments that need to be rescheduled? Caregivers are reminded to take a change of clothes. Are there batteries in the flashlight? (after this question, it’s usually followed up with… “Now please turn it on and make sure it works”). Her techniques come from years of crisis management, and although I tease her, I really do appreciate her efforts and how deeply she cares for our clients.

A few weeks ago, our clients and care staff REALLY appreciated her efforts. Do you remember that snowstorm we had? As I recall, it was Monday, and Cynthia was busy working the phones preparing for the weatherman’s generally over zealous weather report. Here we go again, I thought. We go through all the effort, and it ends up missing us by a state or two, and all we get is an inch of snow. Many times this is the way it happens.

Snow started falling throughout Monday, and then Tuesday morning arrived. Although miserable midwest weather, it was tolerable, and the kids went to school as planned. As the day progressed, so did the worsening weather. I remember heading into Kiwanis at noon, and saying “It’s not so bad.” However, upon coming out of our meeting, ice pellets bombed me, and the wind was blowing small trees sideways. I jumped on my phone, and the schools were canceling. So much for the missed forecast by the TV guy. It seems this time he was spot on!

Later in the evening, after I settled into a cup of hot cider next to the fire, Cynthia called me. “It seems that one of our caregivers cannot get her car to move down the street.” This was followed up by “How’s that four-wheel drive vehicle running?” She also added, “Mrs. X (name withheld) is at home, where we make her dinner every night and help tuck her into bed. I found someone real close to her home to help with her morning routine, but we really need to get this caregiver over to her home.” The truth is, I jumped at the chance to help out. I did grow up in Montana after all, and I can’t imagine any snow I can’t handle. Cynthia assured me if this one caregiver was taken care of, she would rest much easier, so off I went.

It was like a ghost town driving down River Drive to Davenport. The snow was really piling up. Just north of the Village of East Davenport, I turned off into a side street and engaged the four-wheel drive, barely making it up the hill. There she was, and off we went to Moline, just off of Avenue of the Cities.

After dropping her off, I knew I had two hours to kill before picking her up, so I stopped in at the Firehouse Coffee Shop. Good thing they were open, because nothing else was! I actually sat and talked with the owners until the shift was complete and then I swooped in to pick up the caregiver. The four-wheel drive was truly needed now!

I plowed through the streets without a plow. What fun I remember thinking to myself. I dropped the caregiver off and back home I went. I kept thinking about all the people out there who must take care of others and felt really proud that I could help out. Now to make a really long story short, about 100 yards from my driveway nearly to LeClaire, there was a drift five feet tall. YAHOO I yelled as I plunged into the drift and, well, hmmm, I sorta got stuck. Well no sorta about it. I really got stuck. I crawled out the window and walked to my house. It was a good thing that I had my son and six of his friends over for the night because instead of taking us one hour to dig our way home, it would have taken me many more. The next morning I woke up and we truly were snowed in. I then watched TV and realized how lucky I was to even get home. Today, the real hero’s are people like Cynthia who was overly prepared for a situation that rarely happens. I kept thinking of all those who care for people who cannot care for themselves, the sheriff who was stranded in his patrol car. The fireman who used a snowmobile to go and search for a father of one of my friends and so on… There are many hero’s out there but there is nothing more than these ordinary daily hero’s who think of the things we don’t to help us in ways we need help. Lastly, I thank my staff of caregivers, nurses and staff for all the hard work they do on a daily basis. Without them, we’d be simply ordinary rather than extraordinary. And Cynthia, I’ll never say another word about being prepared, thank you most of all.

Dan Adams
563.505.8821 cell