Guest Column: A patient's view of River Bluff

I read your article on River Bluff Nursing Home in the July 6-12, 2005 issue.

My husband and I live at River Bluff. My husband came in May 2004. I came in February 2005.

Diane [Bergquist] was in charge of admissions at that time. I greatly admire Diane. When I was almost hysterical on what to do, not being able to care for my husband myself, I called Diane. She calmed and helped us through the process. Later, she helped me ease in.

We previously lived at Valley View Apartments, the best senior building in town. We now live in the best nursing home in Rockford. Had I read the article in the week previous to contacting River Bluff, I shake to think what I would have done. All our family is out of town. I would have been at a complete loss as to where to turn.

I came in grossly overweight, on oxygen and barely able to get around. Thanks to my doctor and the dietary staff, I have lost 25 pounds. With rehab, I am completely off oxygen and moving much easier. I’m one of the more self-sufficient patients.

My husband had had a stroke 10-plus years before coming to River Bluff. His right arm was and is useless. His right leg required a brace. The 10 years and other small strokes left him unable to stand up without help. The stroke also had affected the function of his bowels and bladder.

In April of 2005, he got pneumonia. Antibiotics cleared that up. But as they do, this left him open to other infections. He got a severe bowel infection. Within days, he was raw bottomed. Cleaning gave him such severe pain that at first, it required a nurse to restrain him while his nurse cleaned him. He hated us all then and verbally let us know.

All the nurses continued to care and give the gentlest care they could. Yes, on occasion they had to be a little sharp to get through and stop him for a moment. My husband is 6’5" and almost 300 pounds. Not always an easy patient emotionally, and physically a handful.

My surprise is how nurses can give the quality and consistency of care day in and day out that they do. This job is HARD. Physically and emotionally hard.

While I do my exercises in rehab, I can see all the ladies and men who come in for hot packs. A simple thing to greatly ease the pains of joints and muscles. Well, not so simple—other nursing homes do no hot packs. Why? Medicare does not pay. They do it here because they do care about us.

Thank you for listening.

Donna Hugo is a resident at River Bluff Nursing Home.

From the Aug. 10-16, 2005, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!