Hospice patients, nurses and caregivers adjust amid Laura aftermath

Hospice patients, nurses and caregivers adjust amid Laura aftermath
Published: Sep. 10, 2020 at 9:55 PM CDT
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CAMERON, La. (KPLC) - Heart of Hospice cares for over 260 hospice patients in Lake Charles.

After Hurricane Laura, many of those remain in Southwest Louisiana without power and relying on generators to run their oxygen tanks and other medical supplies.

Gayle Hunt, 60, is taking care of her 87-year-old mother, Dorothy Theriot, in Cameron Parish.

“No place like home," Theriot said. "No place like Cameron Parish.”

Theriot has been through hurricanes and even defeated cancer. But when she found what’s left of her home in Sweet Lake after Laura,

“She knew she couldn’t go back,” Hunt said.

Bedridden after radiation, Theriot’s condition is dependent on nurses and her daughter, who is also her caregiver.

With limited resources, their work is crucial to her and many others' survival.

Michelle Wix, R.N., drove 130 miles two days after Hurricane Laura to hang a dobutamine drip because no other hospice could or would, her company said.

Born in DeQuincy, Wix empathized with her community, especially for hospice patients.

“It’s such a vulnerable time in life and it’s a time usually when people are at their lowest usually and their most frail and that’s when you need the most love," Wix said.

“There are people in hotels right now trying to overcome those barriers and challenges. It’s definitely a trying time. Things battling with insurance and FEMA right now. Just all the uncertainty... it can be a devastating time in people’s lives.”

Hunt was at a loss for words when trying to describe the damage, knowing her mother cannot go home.

“I mean it just changed everybody. It changes everybody; not just her, not just me, everybody. We have plans and we have ideas, but we have no idea what we’re gonna do.”

But with help from nurses and her daughter, Stacy, Gayle is not giving up and refuses to let go.

“Whenever they use the word ‘hospice,’ you think of ‘she’s not gonna be here long,’ but hospice is not there for people who are fixing to go. They’re there for people who need help.”

Despite the challenges, Hunt stays positive and demonstrates that patience is key.

“When you look at the person and they’re positive, it makes you positive. When you smile with them, they smile back.”

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