After 24 years at Nonotuck Resource Associates Inc, one word consistently stays relevant for Tammy Laurent: advocate. Tammy, who works as a Care Manager in our Lee office, recently put the word to use when she went above and beyond for Joe Delisle, who receives services from Nonotuck in North Adams, MA.
Joe was experiencing medical issues that were not being properly addressed by his doctor for some time. His symptoms progressed to the point where there was a noticeable drop in both his mobility and cognitive ability, causing great concern for Tammy and his shared living caregiver, Steve. Tammy called Joe’s primary care provider (PCP), and again got nowhere. When Joe—who Tammy says never complains of pain—began mentioning chest pains, it was time to take action.
“I knew something was going on with him and his PCP wasn’t taking it seriously,” Tammy says.
When Joe arrived at Berkshire Medical Center, he was in rough shape, to say the least. His body temperature was 91 degrees (98 is average), his red blood cell count, iron, and liver blood tests were alarming, and he was suffering from aspiration pneumonia, sepsis, and atrial fibrillation. As if that wasn’t enough, it was also discovered that Joe had a bulging disc in his back.
The laundry list of ailments meant that Joe needed a lengthy hospital stay, but he is out and on the mend, thanks to Tammy’s vigilance. While some of her colleagues insist she saved Joe’s life, Tammy is unsure, instead expressing sympathy for the pain Joe was experiencing. “I don’t know if I saved his life, I do have to wonder if I hadn't told Steve to call 911 that day, how long he would’ve survived,” she says. “I can’t imagine how much pain he was in and how cold he was.”
At the end of the day Tammy insists she was simply doing her job. “We have to speak for the people who can’t speak for themselves, who need help to articulate what they are trying to say,” she says.
In other words, to advocate.
Learn how Nonotuck developed a love-based ideology of care. We started our shared living program as an alternative to group homes for people with disabilities. Instead, Shared Living creates genuine life transformation for people with disabilities, as well as families and communities. The true power of caregiving is found through hospitality, authenticity, and love.