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Learning to let others care for you
Helen Jenkins - photo by Photo provided / Coastal Courier
LUDOWICI -- Helen Jenkins has been taking care of people for a long time, since 1989 to be exact. But recently, she became sick and has had to let people help her.
The 51-year-old certified nursing assistant has been employed by Coastal Manor nursing home for the last nine years. When she got sick, she became incapacitated about two months ago and, as a result, her muscle failed.
"I was in ICU for 30 days, and then in the hospital for almost another month. When I got out I couldn't walk, couldn't do anything," Jenkins said.
She added, "I had to go through rehab, and I wanted so bad to come back here (Coastal Manor). These people are my family, and I knew they would take care of me, and get me walking again."
"I was so happy to come here. I knew they loved me here and would take care of me, and they know I love them," she said.
According to Jenkins, while she was in Candler Hospital in Savannah, she wasn't forgotten by her co-workers or her patients' family members.
"On my birthday, I woke up and there was a whole bunch of my family (co-workers) from up here, standing over me with a birthday cake," Jenkins said.
She also had kind words about the home's chief long term care officer, Elise Stafford.
"I would wake up and see Elise standing in my room. She would do anything I asked her. It just seemed that whenever I would be at my lowest, there would be somebody to show up, to pick me up."
Co-worker Tarra Connor, who has known and worked with Jenkins for 18 years, said of her, "As a CNA she does an excellent job. You never have to worry about who she is taking care of. She also is very compassionate and she is loved by both her patients and their families."
The LPN added, "While she was in the hospital, a large percentage of the people who came to see her were family members of patients who she takes care of here."
Jenkins said that being a resident at the nursing home has made her appreciate her health a lot more, and be even more sympathetic to the other residents.
"Having to depend on others and not being able to walk or even get up, I can see how the patients feel who are here. It makes you appreciate the little things, when you suddenly find yourself not able to do them anymore," said Jenkins.
The CNA is currently up and walking with a walker, and is working at the center as activity director, but she says she is intent on getting back to taking care of her patients.
"I like doing what I do now, but I really love and miss taking care of people. That's what I want to get back to doing," Jenkins said.
"I'm just very fortunate. My family has supported me and all my friends have been there for me. I just love and thank them so much."
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