Journey to Recovery: Jamie Shares His Story
After retiring from Kmart Corporation, James “Jamie” Goodwin, who turns 70 this year, was living independently in his Reidsville apartment when he experienced a health crisis that would forever change his life. His legs began swelling and leaking fluid to the point he was saturating multiple towels a day. When he could no longer walk, he called 911. Immediately, he was admitted to Cone Health’s Annie Penn Hospital. Thanks to Triad HealthCare Network’s (THN) coordinated care management program, he began his journey to recovery.
“My legs were leaking fluid... and I didn’t know what was going on,” Goodwin from his sunny first-floor apartment located just minutes from the hospital. In the hospital, he learned he was experiencing severe lymphedema, which causes edema in the extremities, in addition to other complications, including diabetes. Incredibly, the equivalent of 19 two-liter bottles of fluid were drained from his legs. Emotionally, he recalls a hospitalist telling him that he would never be able to walk again, which he says galvanized him to do everything he could to regain his health and mobility.
After spending 21 days in inpatient rehabilitation, he has benefited immensely from the coordinated care provided by Dr. Durham, his primary care physician; Dr. Branch, his specialist; and Alisa Gilboy, RN, his nurse and care coordinator, who has visited him up to three to four times a week in addition to his in-home health nurse and home health aide.
“I retired with Kmart, and all of those years, you have to be on a team. I had gotten to the point where I wasn’t really like that. Then, when I got my group of doctors and network nurse, all of that changed. I realized they were there to help me. And, they did,” he reflects.
According to Gilboy, Goodwin could have easily been hospitalized a half a dozen additional times if it weren’t for the coordination of his care among dedicated providers and the level of self-care he has achieved.
“Everyone [on his care team is] eager to learn, willing to help and mostly because Goodwin wants to get better,” says Gilboy.
Early in his treatment, Goodwin was so swollen and contracted, he couldn’t even move his legs. After enduring a seven-day treatment in which his legs were wrapped, and he couldn’t bathe, he made up his mind to put in the effort.
“Alisa told me one time, we don’t prescribe a miracle pill. You have to be willing to work and do some yourself.” And, so he did.
If Goodwin was asked to lift his legs 15 times daily as part of rehabilitation, he would push himself to achieve 20. When his physician told him to watch his salt intake, he traded his beloved sodium-heavy Campbell’s chicken noodle soup for homemade soup he prepares himself.
“I put that salt shaker down. I haven’t picked up that salt shaker in probably two to three months. I ended up losing 48 or 49 pounds,” he shares. “Recently, one of my doctors called me ‘Slim.’ It’s been a long time since anyone said that to me.”
Cataract surgery means he no longer needs glasses. His A1C levels were so low, his physician told him it was almost like he wasn’t a diabetic anymore.
Amazingly, he has taken even greater steps as part of his road to recovery.
“I took 47 steps with my walker after he [the hospitalist] told me I would never walk again, so I proved him wrong,” says Goodwin with satisfaction.
While he is still wheelchair-bound most of the time, he moves easily about his apartment, which has been updated by his management company, a community partner, with an enlarged entryway, so he can enjoy his front porch, and new zero-entry shower.
“I can’t go in any of my family’s houses because I can’t get up the steps…yet. Eventually, I will,” concludes Goodwin with a warm, unwavering smile. “I want to go back to the beach to where I can shag.”
Read more from the first THN Value Report and learn more about THN’s work to improve quality and reduce costs.