One night I was sitting with my dad, Booker, and noticed he was looking side to side and started scratching his face and I noticed his face looked a bit odd. His nurse, Caren, always trains and teaches me as she’s caring for my dad and told me what symptoms to watch for a stroke. When I saw these things I knew my dad was having a stroke and I really thought he was going to pass so I called my brothers and sisters.
I knew we wouldn’t put him through going to the hospital, so I called a local hospice company for help. I spoke to a nurse and asked if somebody could come out to help us but the nurse said she was on her way to another house and told me somebody else would give me a call. I waited and got no call. So I called the nurse back and she said they’d have to wait to send someone out until morning. And I knew morning may be too late! I was so upset and thinking “what are we going to do?” My dad couldn’t talk and he wouldn’t eat or drink.
But then in that moment of crisis, every training I had received from Nuclear Care Partners and from my dad’s nurse came into play and I asked myself, “what would a nurse do?” I told my family, “I’m going to take his blood pressure, his oxygen level, and his temperature.” Thankfully everything was pretty much fine but I told my family we needed to get our dad off the couch and into his bed to a place he could be comfortable. So we all lifted him up and brought him to his bed.
You don’t know what you’ve truly learned until you’re in a scary moment and things start coming to you. Using my training, I kept him hydrated and monitored him and did what Caren always does. I made sure not to feed him as I remember Caren telling me that if someone’s having a stroke they could choke if they eat anything.
The funniest thing was my little two-year-old nephew went up to my dad in the bed and said something to him and after that my dad started smiling and coming back around. He did come out of the stroke and since then he’s been doing really well. There’s some after-effects like he can’t speak as well but he’s doing a lot better and he’s not in pain.
While this was all going down, and after the fact, I said “Lord, thank you for allowing me to be his caregiver. And thank you for the nurses and the training I’ve gotten because it made a difference.” A little training can save a person’s life. If it hadn’t been for NCP I wouldn’t have known these things and it made a difference for my dad and for our family.
I’m so grateful for the training I got from NCP and his nurse Caren. I never realized all of the training I was getting from watching her and from her telling me what she was doing and what to look for. You can read books all you want, but it’s nothing like the hands-on training that I’ve been getting. And in the midst of a crisis where I had to act quickly with no medical help in the moment and with my father’s life at stake, I had no choice but to go off of what I knew and what I had learned. And I really believe that the comfort and care we were able to give my dad helped him come out of that stroke—all thanks to what I’d learned from Nuclear Care Partners.
I really am so grateful for Nuclear Care Partners and the training I’ve been getting (whether I realized it or not) from my dad’s nurse. A little medical training could save a person’s life and had I not been taught by NCP, this story could’ve had a very different outcome.
Story told by Annette, daughter and family caregiver for Booker (former Nevada Test Site worker & Nuclear Care Partners patient)
Annette and her dad, Booker