More Than a Nurse: Her Second Mom

April 28, 2022
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN

It’s hard to say whose days have changed more — Amelia’s or her mother Ivy’s. Over the course of four years, Care Options for Kids nurses have touched nearly every part of their lives. What was once Ivy’s sole responsibility is now shared with Amelia’s home health nurse, Caroline.

“It feels like they’re family. We get along with them great. It feels like I have a secondary mom in the house.”

Amelia’s nurse supports her with personal care, hygiene, bathing, dressing, medicine, doctor’s appointments, and therapy. But, beyond the basics of daily life, they also have loads of fun. They watch shows together like The Incredible Dr. PolNailed It, and Baking Impossible.

“We also like to draw, too. I have a whole bunch of drawings that she did for me, and her drawing is actually pretty good.”

Amelia and Ivy both enjoy having Caroline in the house and consider her part of the family. It’s hard to not feel that way about someone who enjoys spending time with them, makes life easier, and even brings over homemade food, like chicken and rice and plantains.

“She recently brought a Spanish dish for lunch, and I got to try it. It was good. Really good.”

When she came to Care Options for Kids, Amelia’s days used to begin at the end of her mother’s night shift. After helping Amelia get ready, Ivy would sleepily drive her to school and return home to sleep.

Once she got support from Care Options for Kids, Ivy finally felt secure dropping Amelia off at school. That’s because her nurse went with her — to provide assistance, take her glucose readings, and even take her to the bathroom.

“It’s difficult because she can’t get from point A to point B without any incident, so they would guide her through the classroom, or even from class to class, doing assignments, you know, getting simple things like a pencil.”

Amelia, 18, faces several challenges when going about her day. A conical vision impairment varies her ability to see, from moment to moment, so she has no depth perception. She also experiences setbacks from mild forms of cerebral palsy and scoliosis, diabetes, and a developmental delay.

“So, if she were to get up, you know, she can’t see how far the table is. She could walk into it. That’s why it’s so important when I go out with her.”

While having in-school assistance was a great help to Amelia and her teacher, having in-home support when the pandemic hit was paramount.

“I actually like the company, because with this whole COVID thing, none of my friends have been able to come over. So, that’s kind of hard, you know?”

Ivy has been handling her own medical issues as well, including multiple surgeries and plenty of follow-up appointments. Between them, they travel to 10-15 doctor appointments per week.

“Sometimes, it’s easier if I just go by myself instead of taking her, because then she has nothing to do over there. And, it’s a lot of traveling for her, you know? So then, having a nurse here helps out with that.”

Ivy recalls the days before having an in-home nurse. Being someone who’s used to doing it all on her own, it was hard for Ivy to ask for help. But, doing it on her own was even harder.

“Letting somebody in to help with my daughter felt odd at first, but you get used to it. And then, you feel like you can’t live without it, because it’s such a blessing. I mean, it’s fantastic having somebody else, knowing that they’re going to care for your daughter the way that you care for your daughter, or son, or anybody else. It’s been fantastic.”