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Can telehealth change your life?

Just a few months ago, that question would have seemed absurd. That was before the nurse Practitioner, Janet Cooper, came to call.

My 92-year-old  mother and I were in California when the lockdown began. Five months in, I got in the car for our excursion to the grocery store ready to hear all world’s troubles and Mom’s daily slew of health complaints, but instead, her face was lit with a smile!

Odd. She seemed almost giddy as she said, “I spoke to Terrance today! He was so charming and pleasant!”

“Terrance? Who’s Terrence?”

 “He called from South Carolina House Calls. He’s scheduling my telehealth visit.”

How could someone scheduling a telehealth visit so uplift Mom’s spirits? Mom’s a typical New Yorker and a microbiologist and not the cheery type.

“Mom, what did you and Terrance talk about?”

“Oh, my medical issues and history.”

Truth be told, when it comes to health, I’m not such a good listener. No doubt this Terrance did better. Must be that southern charm, I thought. Or maybe after five months of being in lockdown with Mom, I wasn’t the most stimulating conversationalist.

But this change in Mom was just a small preview of what was yet to come.

Two days later, Janet Cooper, the nurse practitioner from South Carolina House Calls made her “house call.” It was via telephone.  As soon as Mom hung up with Janet, she told me all about the telehealth visit and all they discussed. They covered Mom’s health and world issues!

A few days later, they had a video chat, and Mom told me she put on makeup fixed her hair and got dressed, and shared how much she And Janet saw eye to eye on the world situation and even described Janet’s remarkable earrings!

Then Janet fought a fierce battle with three hospices in California until the  3rd hospice finally admitted Mom.  Mom has multiple health issues, and even though she played bridge with some of the world’s best players right up until the lockdown, she is 92 and required hospice services!  Janet went to bat when Mom had given up.

The distance between South Carolina and Newport Beach, California, became irrelevant as Janet became my Mom’s hero and friend.

Next, Janet did something that changed not just mom/s life but mine too. She prescribed a  salve for Mom that alleviated the arthritic pain that had been increasing in Mom’s knees for months. Now, Mom could walk again! We sat on a bench on the beach in the sun and on another one outside the Mexican take out place where we laughed as we while struggled to eat Nachos and Enchiladas from lightweight plastic containers on our laps in the wind.

To say telehealth visits changed my mother’s life is an understatement. Those visits transformed it. But here’s what amazed me most. When Janet and her husband got sick, my Mom called her to wish them a speedy recovery! Whoever heard of a patient calling their healthcare provider when the provider fell ill?

After several months in Janet’s care,  I stopped worrying about Mom. Janet addressed and kept me abreast of all of Mom’s health conditions and always told me she loved my Mom, and I knew my Mom loved her too. A few months ago, my brother and his family returned to CA, and I began to think about returning to New York. Without Janet Cooper, I couldn’t have considered the trip. I knew that whatever happened now, Janet was just a phone call away and would make sure Mom had everything and anything she needs to be comfortable, well, and even happy.

I know Janet is just one of more than 200 nurse practitioners employed by South Carolina House calls that are changing lives throughout the state of SC and beyond, visiting people like my Mom in their homes or senior housing facilities on the phone via telehealth and in-person.

Could telehealth change your life?

I urge you to dial  800-491-0909 to schedule a visit with South Carolina House Calls and find out for yourself.

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