“Everything fell apart seven or eight years ago. But I’m happy now. I’m very lucky.”
Bill spent over 38 years working all hours, just to keep our taps running.
When the water main breaks in the middle of the night, it’s good people like Bill who go and fix it. He was running a team of ten men, on call 24/7. It was hard work, being constantly on call. But Bill loved it. Happily married to Lorraine, he eventually retired. And with time to enjoy his retirement, he was in good shape, fit and well. Then one day, it all changed. Bill takes up the story.
Everything fell apart about 7 or 8 years ago.
“One day I noticed my foot was a bit swollen. I went to the doctor and he said ‘It’s just a fungus.’ When it got worse, and my toe started turning black, I went back and asked for x-rays. He said, ’No, just get out and do some walking’. So I did. But it kept getting worse. Finally, I went back and got the x-rays done, and he told me, ‘You’ve got Charcot Foot’.
It’s serious - it comes from nerve damage. And all the walking I had been doing had been doing more damage. Eventually, I got a blister on the ankle that became a large ulcer right up my leg. I could hardly walk by then. If we’d had the x-rays done in the first place, and a proper diagnosis, we could have dealt with it straight away.
Bill’s health soon deteriorated rapidly.
Bill developed further serious complications, including cardiac failure, respiratory illness and sleep apnoea, and he also lost an eye. Formerly healthy and strong, it was a sad decline. Knowing how much Bill and Lorraine wanted continue living at home, the family decided to bring in care support.
But as Bill’s daughter explains, things got worse. “I won’t mention names, but the care we got in was a total failure. The care workers kept changing all the time, and so did the care. We started one thing, then they’d stop that and change to something else. It was no good, Bill was confused and unhappy and did not want the help. Life was pretty miserable”.
“So then we tried Anglicare in 2017. We were just so thankful to be in the right place at the right time."
“When Maria from Anglicare started, they just clicked. I said, ‘Dad, you don’t know how lucky you are’.” “I do, I do!” says Bill.
Maria explains what happened next. “Things weren’t good. Bill was really depressed. I picked up on the feedback from the family, the vascular clinic, the podiatrist and the dietician, that Bill needed focused, personal help. We all needed to work together. We knew he needed to get walking. So we decided to try that slowly. At the same time we started to really attend to the wounds that had developed on his leg.
“Early on, I drove him down by the lake, it’s beautiful down there, and we started some walking. Bill liked that. We began to make progress. More recently our target has been the paper shop. He’d never set foot in there in five years. So that became our goal. Walking from home to the paper shop. And we can tick that off now. These days, we’ll grab a coffee, get a haircut, walk to the doctor and come back. And Bill feels so much better. And the great thing is that as a result from the consistent care, the wounds on Bill’s legs are so much better too. The ulcer is just about healed. So we’ve really made improvements everywhere. He’s gradually improved in all areas since we started and the family appreciate the help.
“My goal is to see Bill stay here, in the home. I don’t want to see him end up going into a nursing home. I want to see him stay with Lorraine and the family. We just need to keep on going forwards now.
Maria and the team’s passion and commitment, working closely with the family, have turned things round in just over 12 months. It’s great news for everyone, and Bill is clearly delighted, and sums things up succinctly. “It’s made me very happy and gives me something to look forward to. I wasn’t getting out much because with my foot and leg, I’d fall a lot. Ended up in hospital from some falls. But I haven’t had a fall since starting with Anglicare. Maria has been great. Plus she plays dominos with me and lets me win. When she’s not cheating that is!! I’m very lucky”.
Thanks Bill for sharing your story with us. Some names and details have been changed to protect privacy.