One admirable trait of the culture of Knox County that we have experienced with our work with patients in the Stinking Creek and Flat Lick communities these past fifty years was helping families take care of the patients within the limitations of their homes.
This most certainly included delivering babies in the homes, postnatal care and, at times, teaching the families to care for the new born. More than once Peggy taught a family how to care for a premature baby by making an incubator out of a cardboard box using quart canning jars filled with hot water for much needed warmth. Sometimes that meant someone needed to stay up all night to keep a fire in the cook stove even in the summer time. I also recall one mother so excited over having the birth of a daughter. But sadly that mother, who loved to work outside in her garden, for twenty years had to care for a child who was robbed of the chance to develop normally.
Peggy’s medical skills were also in demand for stroke patients and other bed-fast ailments and the chronically ill. It also included first aid for broken bones and accidents. It might take several months of care for a car accident victim or a shot person. There was long term care for a mental patient where the mother could handle her son even though he towered over her.
Now there are agencies ready to help under the Medicare and Medicaid programs. But that also brought more complicated procedures because patients were sent home with open heart surgeries requiring sterile care. This was complicated by some of the home situations. Even though we now have Home Health Care, Nursing Homes and even Hospice, there is still a need for the family members to be caregivers. I do not know how many homes in this area have caregivers but for so many of them it has become a profession all of its own.
I think the need is so great that almost every family clan has someone who has given a lot of their time and life to the care of others. Maybe you can lift some of their burden with acts of kindness—a special food or some time to let them have some time of their own.