In Feb. 25-Mar. 5 issue
By Derek Aaron
Times Journal ReporterLeft to right: Patricia Hill with her caregiver Mary Downey. Hill says that a phone call from Downey saved her life by waking her up.
Melson Ridge resident Patricia Hill says she could have slipped into a coma or even have died, but because her caregiver, Mary Downey of Personal Touch out of Columbia, gave her an unexpected phone call, she was able to wake up before it was too late.
Hill has numerous health problems recently including congestive heart failure, arthritis and knee replacements, but a low blood sugar level of 50 nearly did her in last Thursday.
Hill's husband of 23 years, Thomas, had gone to town to pick up her blood pressure medication and to run some errands as she lay in bed, exhausted due to a recent hospital stay because of pneumonia.
"It's not in her job description to call people and check on them," Hill said. "But she did … she called and checked on me."
Hill said had she been awake when her blood sugar level dropped she would have been able to manage by consuming some sugar or drinking some orange juice.
"My sugar was doing really good before I fell asleep," she said. "I checked it."
But during her three-hour nap, her sugar level dropped to severe levels. Hill said had her sugar level dropped to 40; she would have slipped into a coma.
"Another half hour and I would've been gone," she said. "I'm so thankful she called to check on me … it truly is an amazing miracle."
Hill has been in the hospital several times this winter with pneumonia and her low blood sugar levels coupled with that made it extremely difficult for her to move around.
Downey, her caregiver for four years, had visited the Hill's home before Patricia's scare, but due to the icy road conditions around the area that day, she told Downey to go on back home before the roads got too bad.
After Downey left, Hill fell asleep. "That was my biggest mistake. If I had been awake I would have known my sugar was bottoming out. I would've taken something because I was prepared."
Hill said she would never lie down and take another nap while she was alone.
"But Mary called and woke me up out of it and I felt that something bad was wrong," Hill said.
Downey said the reason she called to check on Patricia was that she knew Thomas was not at home. "I knew she was real sick."
Patricia said she has a chair next to her bed with all of her medication, juice and utensils for blood sugar testing and after Downey's phone call; she tested her blood sugar level to reveal that it was getting dangerously low.
"If Mary hadn't called and I hadn't been woke up, I could be gone," Hill said. "A miracle … my guardian angel bought me a miracle."
"It does feel good to know that she appreciates me taking care of her," Downey said, "because there is so much abuse against the elderly in this old world anymore."
Hill said that Downey doesn't treat her job like a job, but more like a lifestyle. "She goes above and beyond the call of duty," Hill said. "I think she would help a total stranger on the street just as much as she would help me."
Downey said she likes going home at night knowing she has done all she could for her patients that day. "I consider all my patients just like my own family," Downey said. "They're just great … I love my job."
Downey said she considers the Hill's home hers as well and says she knows she would be welcome there anytime, day or night.
"They're good to me," Downey said. "All my patients are good to me."
Downey visits Hill three days a week, with a two-hour visit on both Monday and Wednesday and a final, four-hour visit on Friday.
Patricia's husband, Thomas (Junior), is also a big help at home.
"He does everything," she said. "He cooks, he cleans and every time he goes to town he gets something special for me, just to make me happy."
He even bought a Yorkie puppy for her late last year, she named the dog "Badger."
"He helps to keep me company," she said. "I can be so depressed and then I look at Badger and he helps to bring me up."
Downey, who also has a Yorkie, doesn't consider her phone call to be a miracle, but the outcome may have been, indeed.