Normalcy. That’s what 70-year-old Mary wanted in her life, and it’s not something she achieved until she became an Arbor Palliative Care patient.
Suffering from end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Mary desperately wanted to organize her apartment, go to the grocery store and have coffee with a friend. But her disease wouldn’t allow it.
“Mary was not satisfied with her quality of life,” said Marie Heys, MS, FNP, BC, Arbor Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner. “She was almost always fatigued and experiencing a shortness of breath. Those symptoms severely limited her ability to do just about anything.”
That’s why Mary needed help. She found Arbor Palliative Care online and made the call herself.
“The first time I met with Mary, it was very apparent that she needed help controlling her symptoms and someone to talk to,” Heys said. “I made a recommendation to her primary care physician that we prescribe morphine to control her shortness of breath. Some physicians are hesitant to prescribe morphine but I explained how it will help Mary and the physician agreed.”
Within three days, Mary was organizing boxes in her living room. In 10 days she was shopping at Sam’s Club, and two weeks later, Mary was meeting her friend for coffee.
Arbor Palliative Care has coordinated the delivery of Mary’s medications and works closely with her physician as Mary’s condition changes.
“With input from Mary’s physician, I have adjusted her morphine dosage and made a recommendation to control her sweating. As her disease progresses, it’s normal for Mary to experience worsening or new symptoms. With continued follow-up, we have been able to control them and let Mary continue to do what’s important to her.”
In addition to managing Mary’s medical care, Heys has been instrumental in connecting Mary to community resources.
“Mary lives in a community with poor services for someone in her condition. She needs to live closer to her physician and in an area with public transportation. I’ve worked with the social worker at Mary’s physician’s office to recommend alternative living arrangements. We have identified several options for Mary and have put her on the waiting list.”
For Mary, Arbor Palliative Care has given her a life back. While she knows her condition will continue to change, Mary’s symptoms will be managed and she’ll have every opportunity to do the things she loves.
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