Paul retired in 2010 to care for Nancy after she was diagnosed with dementia. They shared adventures, visiting Europe and enjoying life together.

In 2011, Nancy was diagnosed with C. Diff. She spent 21 days in the hospital, most of those as a patient in the intensive care unit, and she left the hospital with an ileostomy, which presented new challenges to her health and care.

Nancy stayed at a nursing home for 30 days, and the staff advised Paul that she should not leave because she was incapable of caring for herself.

Paul sought advice from others, and he prayed. Ultimately, he decided to bring Nancy home to care for her. “I didn’t care if we got one day or one week at home together. We ended up with 30 months” he said.

Toward the end of those 30 months, Nancy developed kidney stones. She was not able to express her pain, but that pain altered her mental state. She quit eating meals that Paul would prepare for her, but she would eat pieces of fruit he left out. Nancy also did not want Paul to touch her during this time, which presented many challenges, especially in caring for Nancy’s ostomy.

“We were between doctors,” Paul said. “so I called Mulberry, but without a physician referral or hospital stay, Nancy could not admit. They helped me get her into a hospital program to treat her medical diagnosis, which would also stabilize her mood and behavior.”

After treatment, the hospital staff thought Nancy could return home with home health services. Eventually, a doctor made the referral Paul and Nancy needed to admit to a long-term care facility, and they chose Mulberry Health.

Paul visits every day, and he feeds Nancy at each of her three meals.

“Nancy led a bible study at Mulberry years ago, and she was always so impressed by a man who visited his wife each day during mealtime. I’m grateful I get to do this,” Paul said. “Nancy blesses me each day. Whether with big smiles, or saying things like ‘I’ve been waiting for you’ or ‘there’s my husband.’ Those are my paid-in-full moments.”

Caring for Nancy is the best job Paul has ever had. He may not have planned on this path, but nobody does. Paul is one of many caregivers who walks our halls each day. He smiles and greets each person he encounters, and when someone asks how he is, Paul’s response is, “I am blessed.”

“There’s a saying in the Bible that man makes plans, but God’s plans happen. I’m starting to get it,” he said with a smile.