By Jennifer Wintle, Therapy Resource, Colorado
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine in this line of work. You have new programs you want to start, financial markers you strive to hit, and all of this trickles down to your team. However, every so often, you are reminded of why you chose this profession. It’s the people, their stories, their lives, and all they share.
One of my PTAs at Sloan’s Lake, Meghan Ricketson, just shared this with me. We had a patient recently who wanted to get better so badly, but his body (his heart) just wasn’t having it. He was sent back to the hospital twice while he was a skilled resident with us. He even asked another PTA, Brent Cook, to just try to ride the bike even though his O2 sats were in the high 70% just sitting in his w/c. He asked Brent in an unsure voice, “Am I dying?”
He was one of those patients where, even though I never worked with him, it just tore at my heart to see him want to do something so badly and not be able to do so. Meghan only works 2.5 days a week but obviously had formed a bond with this patient. He had traveled all over the world, but what struck Meghan was that he had traveled to the South Pole. She is a mother of three boys and knew the boys would think that was so cool. They would talk during his PT sessions about all of his crazy feats.
He was an incredible adventurer and was able to do things that many of us in Colorado, with an obsession with mountains and thrills, would love to be able to do. He climbed 54 14,000’ers, Mt. Fuji and Mt. Kilimanjaro, and attempted to swim across the English Channel. These are only a snippet of his experiences. Unfortunately this patient ended up discharging home with hospice care on May 23, and passed peacefully on June 1.