"I was feeling overwhelmed not knowing how to navigate the health care system in order to best support my mom and advocate for her care. Cheryl decreased my stress level and gave me tangible recommendations regarding what type of specialist would be appropriate for the situation while coaching me on specific questions we could ask. I appreciated her calm presence during our consultation and felt confident that her knowledge and experience would help guide us on the next steps to take."
"Cheryl gave our family simple, concrete suggestions for how to keep our dad as safe and happy as possible at home despite his dementia. It was valuable to get outside ideas from a professional."
"I consulted with Cheryl prior to a planned joint replacement. She let me know what to expect after surgery and had suggestions for how to prepare my home. She also taught my husband and me about the services available in a nursing rehab facility. Silly me, I had thought that those were only places where people went to die. She encouraged me to visit numerous facilities and had advice about what to look for and what questions to ask. Indeed, while recuperating in the hospital, I decided that a rehab facility would ease the transition home. I'm so glad I made that decision! I took the same route years later when I had the other joint replaced."
"I first benefited from Cheryl’s expertise in 2007 when my mom was hospitalized after a short illness. Her health rapidly deteriorated. Family was scattered throughout the country and we all felt distanced, overwhelmed, and lost. Cheryl met with the doctors and nurses to understand how the medical work-up was going, what diagnoses were being considered, and what potential treatment options might be. She submitted frequent written updates to family – in clear language that we could all understand despite our various careers (retail manager, accountant, architect, and electrician). Receiving updates by email ensured that we all got the same info at the same time, and that we could read and reread it as necessary. I was amazed at how clearly she communicated the complex medical information. I called her a “Medical Code Talker!” She assisted Mom at the bedside: she helped Mom voice her needs and concerns and fears. She advocated for Mom’s pain management needs. One very important thing she helped us with was clarifying Mom’s code status. Mom didn’t fully understand the questions she’d been asked and had declared herself to be No Code. Cheryl explained to Mom and to family that this might not be appropriate for someone who had recently been a healthy, happy, golfing retiree. Mom changed her code status, survived a night in the ICU (Cheryl remained at the bedside throughout), and went on to a successful discharge.
Two years later we again needed Cheryl’s services. Mom had been diagnosed with late-stage, aggressive cancer. The doctors immediately began aggressive chemo, which had devastating side effects. Mom was scared and in horrible pain, and reluctant to tell us, her husband, and her medical team that she did not want to continue treatment. Cheryl helped Mom clarify and express her desires, and helped the family understand and accept them. Yet again, Mom’s code status needed to be considered. This time she was listed as a Full Code, which meant that she would have been subjected to CPR, intubation, and all manner of procedures should she go into heart or respiratory failure. Cheryl facilitated communication of her desires to the family and the team and her code status was changed to DNR (do not resuscitate). Mom and our family were blessed to spend her last days in peace, receiving palliative pain management, having hospital slumber parties, and saying goodbye on mom’s terms.
I have since had my own health crisis and Cheryl helped me with the many out-patient appointments and therapy required after a hospitalization. She organized an avalanche of paperwork to facilitate tracking my bills, insurance notices, and payments.
She is an invaluable person to have on your team when the proverbial #*&! hits the fan."