(12/21/10) - Bettie Wimberly has experienced both the exhaustion and joys associated with the long journey of caring for a loved one. Her life with her beloved husband, Joe, changed forever in 1989 when he began having a series of strokes. This journey included many hospitalizations, rehabilitation and 16 years of dedicated care by a loving wife and family.
In 2006, McLeod physician, Dr. Conyers O'Bryan, recommended to Bettie that they enhance Joe's care by bringing in McLeod Hospice. After six months with home care being provided by the McLeod Hospice team, Bettie saw Dr. O'Bryan for her physical. At this time, Dr. O'Bryan recognized that Bettie's own health was in jeopardy because of her many years serving as Joe's caregiver.
Dr. O'Bryan recommended that Bettie get some much needed rest by allowing Joe to receive respite care at the new McLeod Hospice House. Over the next year, Joe was admitted for respite care six times and Bettie was able to regain her strength. This special care can vary from a few days to a few weeks when a room is available in the Hospice House.
Eventually, Joe returned for the last time and spent his final weeks in the Hospice House. The Wimberlys experienced the care and compassion that so many families in our region have discovered since the house opened in 2005. Bettie tells others that she knows where Angels live..."they live at the McLeod Hospice House."
In looking back over their long journey, Bettie reminisces about many tender moments with Joe and is convinced that she was being prepared to help others. She continues to attend the Care Givers Support Group where she shares her experiences with those who may be struggling. She also helps with the Jessie's Kids Bereavement Camp for children dealing with loss, and she volunteers in the Hospice House Garden. As Bettie will tell you, the garden is where she feels closest to her precious Joe.
Dr. O'Bryan's Quote:
The Wimberly case clearly indicates the extraordinary value and the necessity for respite care with the Hospice House. As medicine continues to provide more services and care for patients, there is still a tendency not to be as cognizant of the need for family members who themselves have specific medical problems and are certainly in the "caretaker syndrome". This is the only avenue available now and has an established reputation of fully meeting all expectations. The only problem with this unique service is that it needs to be expanded as rapidly as possible.
E. Conyers O'Bryan, Jr., M.D.