David Pryor can’t remember the last time he woke up in the morning to feel refreshed and ready for a new day. Most days he wakes up still weary and tired, one arm or another swollen or aching. Now 66, David has been a part of our Choices family for 18 years. He currently lives at our Cliffwood home. He has been struggling with health issues for many years. He has COPD, has struggled with depression and has an eating disorder that makes his weight an ongoing barrier in his life. He recently was in the hospital for weeks with pneumonia and then discharged to a nursing home where he fought his way back to good health. While in the nursing home he could barely walk and was mostly wheelchair bound. He had to exercise every day and walk up and down the hallways so that he could be released to go back home.
They loved him at the nursing home, just as we do at Choices. Even in a wheelchair he was a social butterfly, taking others food trays and picking them up, visiting with other patients to cheer them up. The nursing home gave him the biggest send off when he went home, thanking him for how many lives he had touched and how much they had grown to love him.
He is enjoying being back home now and has made a renewed commitment to get healthier. He attends United Rehabilitation Services five days a week, up from his two or three days previously. He’s smiling again, making jokes and laughing that great laugh. He’s enjoying working on his model cars again and helping with small projects around the house.
It’s been a difficult journey to get back to the smiles and laugher. He lives on a small amount of money that barely covers his bills. He watches his roommates do things he can’t afford to do, like going shopping or on vacation. He broke up with his girlfriend. He had to stop driving because of health issues. He had to stop working because he didn’t have enough endurance to make it through the day. There is the end of each day when others find comfort in sleep and where he is constantly reminded that sleep will not come easily for him and that pain will come in the morning.
He currently sleeps in a twin bed, which is too small for his weight. During the night his arms dangle over the bed and he wakes in the morning to discomfort and swollen arms. Staff have identified a full- size bed and specialized mattress that will safely and comfortably support his frame and weight. The bed and special mattress cost $4,500. While he is Medicaid-eligible, Medicaid will not pay for the bed because he does not weigh enough to qualify for reimbursement.
Staff are torn watching David struggle every day, frustrated at how little they can do to make things better for him. They are supporting him in his efforts to lose weight while being told by Medicaid that he needs to weigh more so that he can qualify for the bed that would allow him to have a more comfortable and healthy life.
Despite this challenge and all the others he has faced and continues to face, David remains the soft-spoken, gentle man who goes out of his way to not only recognize the needs in others but to do what he can in his own way to address those needs, whether it is with smiles, words of encouragement, carrying a dinner tray, or just sitting with someone and talking with them so that they know that they are not alone and forgotten. He gets up every morning with pain and discomfort. He gets up and makes it a better day for others.
Editor’s Note: If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to help David get a new bed, please forward to Choices In Community Living, Attention Judy Leasure, 1651 Needmore Road, Dayton, 45414. You may also make a donation on our secure website at www.partnersohio.com.