A Miracle Recovery
Carolyn Hoffman was still dealing with her own uphill battle with COVID-19 when her husband Bob was diagnosed with coronavirus.
Bob had driven Carolyn to the hospital when she was experiencing COVID-19 symptoms in November, and less than two weeks later, he also tested positive for coronavirus.
While Carolyn got better at home, Bob got progressively worse and was hospitalized.
After 52 years of marriage, having to be separated from each other was tough on both of them.
“I couldn’t see him the first eight days,” said Carolyn. “After that, they moved him into his private room and I was able to talk to Bob on the phone in the ICU.”
Bob wasn’t showing signs of improvement. He wasn’t eating and was on oxygen to help him breathe. Soon his family was called in and told it was time for hospice. Bob was then discharged from the hospital with a seven-day prognosis.
“I don’t think Bob knew what was happening,” Carolyn said. “All he understood was that he was coming home. That was the saddest day of my life. I just broke down and cried all the way home from the hospital.”
Nothing could prepare her and their family for that moment. While Carolyn wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the love of her life, she agreed hospice was the best decision.
“How do you prepare for death?” Carolyn said. “I’m not prepared for that day just yet. At that time in the hospital, we were told that hospice would step in, I knew he would be taken care of and he was.”
Carolyn continued to have faith that her husband would recover.
With Bob now back at home the Rainbow Hospice Care team was there to make sure he was comfortable in what appeared to be his final days.
“He was sleeping around the clock and unable to get out of bed or do any daily personal tasks,” said Rainbow RN Case Manager Heidi Komp. “He wasn’t communicating with his loved ones.”
Komp and Rainbow Social Worker Kathy Boettcher helped with his pain management and showed Bob’s family how to care for him at home. They were also there to listen and answer any questions that Carolyn and her family had.
Several Certified Nursing Assistants from Rainbow also came to assist Bob in daily tasks he wasn’t able to do himself, like bathing, feeding, and getting dressed. The entire Rainbow team helped provide a strong support system for Carolyn who was still not feeling strong enough to care for Bob herself.
“The nurse aides would talk to him, made him laugh, and took their time with him, so he knew he could be comfortable with them,” Carolyn said.
After a few visits, the team started to notice a change in Bob, as he slowly started to regain his strength and gradually began improving.
“Our team remained with him, changing our approach as he got stronger, focusing on wellness as his symptoms got fewer and fewer,” said Boettcher.
Perhaps being back at home in familiar surroundings, with his wife by his side was the best medicine for Bob.
“Every week when Heidi came in and saw him, she was always surprised and when Kathy came in she was amazed at what a difference he had made,” Carolyn said. “I was there for him at all times, as he looks for me.”
As the weeks passed, Bob started getting even stronger. He was sleeping less and didn’t experience any setbacks.
“Carolyn learned so many medical tasks very quickly, which was instrumental in Bob’s recovery,” Komp said. “One day he walked into the bathroom and shaved off his beard. He regained the ability to do his grooming, showering, and eating all independently. Each step was a milestone to be celebrated.”
Each day, Carolyn never gave up hope. At the end of January, Bob was taken off hospice care and can now do several tasks for himself. Bob went from having less than a week to live to making a miraculous recovery.
“I really believe that Bob’s recovery was a miracle,” Carolyn said. “Lots of people were praying for him and we couldn’t lose hope, as he came so close to death. Faith, hope, care, and believing in the Lord played an important part in everything.”
“It was wonderful to witness his recovery and to see the family’s prayers being answered week after week,” Boettcher said.
Both Bob and Carolyn are still dealing with some of the after-effects of COVID, but have come a long way in the last two months.
“I think we’re doing great,” Carolyn said. “The biggest thing is to keep Bob eating and he has been. For me, I wish the lingering cough and shortness of breath would go away, but I have to be patient.”
Both of them are forever grateful for Rainbow Hospice Care and their assistance.
“It’s rare for someone so ill to improve so significantly and to be able to graduate from hospice care,” Boettcher said. “It was a highlight for me to walk with Bob and his family from worry and sadness back into health and making plans for their future together.”
“Rainbow Hospice helped us through this adventure in our life,” Carolyn said. “The team did an excellent job taking care of him. With Heidi coming in and giving me helpful ideas on how I can assist him, that made it easier.”
Through all the highs and the lows, Carolyn is now thankful for every day she has with Bob, especially when it looked like she would lose him so quickly.