We nominate a very special nurse, Jodi Epley, for The DAISY Award. Jodi is a nurse in the Family Practice Department at the Carle Clinic in Mahomet. We would like to share a little bit about our family to help you understand why we are making this nomination today.
We have two sons, one of which is multiply handicapped. Our son with disabilities recently turned 19. He suffered a serious brain injury during a traumatic birth, which has caused cerebral palsy, legal blindness/visual impairment, a form of autism, left-sided hemiparesis, nervous system damage, as well as serious cognitive and physical impairments. He suffers with serious expressive language difficulties stemming from the brain injury which prevent him from sharing when he experiences pain, sadness, etc. due to the serious right frontal lobe brain injury he sustained; he also suffers with intermittent, impulsive aggression.
Our son was in a developmental program in Wisconsin for several years and recently returned home due to abuse issues within the facility/company. Unfortunately, the abuse he sustained while in Wisconsin has made things even more difficult for him. We have experienced one battle after another since his return home in regard to locating an appropriate service provider to serve him in an appropriate adult four-person group home. Our family has and continues to experience an unsurmountable amount of stress due to this process.
After our son's return home, my husband had to leave town for a couple of days. This was of concern, as my husband performs the majority of our son's care (hygiene, etc.) due to his impulsive, intermittent aggression. A structured routine is very important for our son, and any changes in his routine can be cause for distress and aggressive outbursts.
When my husband left town, we made it through the first day/evening. Unfortunately, the second evening was not so good. I made the attempt to begin my son's evening hygiene routine, and things spiraled downhill as he refused to participate. As he lay on the couch screaming and crying, attempting to hit and kick due to frustration, I continued to try and assist him. To make a long story short, my son had a severe meltdown which included severe aggressive behavior. Things became so severe that I had to call for assistance.
At the end of the evening, I was able to get my son in his bed to sleep for the night. This was after suffering abuse from his aggressive meltdown for hours. During this horrible episode, I could not help but suspect something was wrong, as my son, in past, did not have such severe meltdowns unless something of a physical nature was occurring.
The next morning, I entered my son's room to wake him and get him up to start his day. He immediately began taking swings at me and attempted to kick me, yet would not speak. All he wanted to do was sleep. I quickly realized I was going to need help.
I immediately contacted Dr. S's office, as he is my son's family practice physician. I spoke with Jodi Epley, his nurse. I made her aware of what had transpired the night before. Jodi directed me she would speak with Dr. S and call me back immediately, which she did. Jodi directed me what steps to take, not only to care for my son, but to ensure the safety of me and my other son.
As it turned out, our son had to be transported to the Carle Hospital Emergency Room, as he was experiencing severe abdominal pain due to a problem associated with three previous, serious bowel surgeries he recently had at the Children's Research Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His aggressive meltdown was caused from the severe pain he was experiencing, yet he was not able to express he was in pain. It truly was a horrible situation. Not only was it difficult seeing our son suffer, but dealing with the abuse from the suffering was also extremely difficult.
Jodi Epley could not have been more helpful to me than what she was. She took an active role in assisting me with my son, his health and safety, and the health and safety of me and my other son. When I made contact with Jodi, I was sobbing due to everything that had transpired the night before, and I was exhausted. I feared what might transpire in the day to follow. I truly believed something was physically wrong with our son. Due to Jodi's ability to listen intently to what I was sharing and her professional expertise, she understood there was a potential, serious problem that required immediate evaluation. When our son arrived at the hospital, he was taken care of and received appropriate medical attention to resolve the problem. Everyone was wonderful with our son!
Not only did Jodi assist our family during this crisis, she has continued to provide help to our family many, many times since that incident. Our family continuously struggles with many obstacles in our advocating efforts to ensure our son's needs are met. We have required the assistance of Dr. S and Jodi on numerous occasions. They have worked diligently in conjunction with Dr. H, the Carle Psychiatrist, to assist with medications while we waited for the actual, scheduled appointment with Dr. H for an evaluation/new patient consultation. They have written letters and made numerous phone calls on our son's behalf, and they continue to offer their support and assistance in any way they can to assist in making sure our son is safe and well cared for. They truly are an advocate for our son!
Jodi Epley is a kind, considerate, compassionate and caring individual. Jodi represents what a true nurse is and should be. It is clear from her interaction with her patients, she genuinely cares for all patients and wants to help in any way she can. Jodi Epley goes above and beyond the call of duty in her role as a nurse. She truly is the example all nurse should follow.
Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to recognize such an outstanding individual's who oversee our son's care and who are always there to assist our family when in need.