Chad Cluts of Payne sometimes refers to his home health nurse, Mary Lichty, RN, as “Mary Poppins” because she usually has a song to sing, which is like the “Spoonful of Sugar” that “helps the medicine go down.”
Cluts was paralyzed in an automobile accident when he was in his 20s and lives in a wheelchair. For 23 years his mother, the late Ellen Henriott, who passed in April 2019, was his caregiver.
“I felt lost after my mom died,” Cluts said. “Mary came in and filled that void and helped me with the grieving process and healing.”
Lichty’s husband, Bob, was best friends with Cluts’ father, who passed several years ago in a tragic fireworks accident.
“Just before Ellen passed, her last words to Chad’s step-father were, ‘Take care of Chad, and call Mary’” Lichty recalled.
Cluts said Lichty came in, calmed everyone down, taught his stepfather to pack a wound, and assured them all that life goes on.
An advocate in the home
In January 2019, Cluts began receiving home health services from CHP Home Care & Hospice of Paulding after having surgery. Nurses provide two or three scheduled visits a week for wound care, blood draws, and urine analysis. There have also been many after-hours visits.
“When I was first admitted,” Cluts said, “my wound vac was put on at eight in the morning and by 11 p.m. it had come off. I called the on-call number and a nurse came out and it was back on. They’re always close if I need anything.”
Cluts has also been having trouble with his wheelchair and Lichty has advocated on his behalf with the medical equipment company to get the repairs done that he needs.
“Every patient has specialized needs,” Cluts, a licensed social worker, said. “You need nurses that can adjust on the fly.”
Most confident feeling in health care
He says it’s been important to have a home health provider located in Paulding County.
“I didn’t necessarily know all the nurses from CHP, but all the nurses I’ve had, know somebody that I know,” Cluts said.
Those local connections he said make his caregivers feel more like family.
“It makes you feel more accountable because you know them,” Cluts said. “Knowing your caregivers is the most confident feeling you can have in health care.”
And having a real-life Mary Poppins on your side to help make a difficult situation more palatable is a huge blessing. “In the worse times of my life over the past couple of years, Mary has been my rock,” Cluts said.