Paul Houk left Rochester, N.Y., after high school and headed for college in Albany. After that his journey included law school at the University of Michigan and various posts throughout the country. He eventually settled in Louisville, met his wife, Janice, and together raised their two sons.
Paul’s older brother, David, stayed in Rochester and upon his retirement, lost his wife of 32 years to ovarian cancer. Some eight months later, David was diagnosed with a glioblastoma stage 4 brain tumor. Paul and Janice brought David to Louisville for surgery and further treatment. They then opened their home to David to live with them. “Even though our lives had followed separate paths, I know we did the right thing by having David move in with us. He was my brother; you take care of family.”
“After living for two years following surgery with virtually no symptoms, an MRI indicated a small spot on David’s brain. We then noticed his energy declined and his cognitive skills were impaired. In October of 2013, he became immobile,” says Paul.
He adds, “After a four-day stay at Norton Hospital, David’s doctor said, ‘If it was my family member, I’d call Hosparus.’”
Paul notes that David had reached the point he could no longer live with him and Janice and was admitted to the Sam Swope Center at the Masonic Home, “Hosparus and the hospital took care of everything for David’s nursing home admission. We didn’t even have to make a phone call. I can’t say enough about the hospital, the Masonic Home and Hosparus. They worked together to make things so much easier for us.”
David’s Hosparus CNA Richard Kinney would come in early in the morning to give David a bath. Even though David was a bit of a loner, the two bonded. After finding out David loved model cars, Richard brought him a few. “His nurse, Susan Cumming, was wonderful about keeping us informed about what to expect as his illness progressed. Debbie Ashcraft, his social worker, was great to talk to and made sure we had everything we needed,” says Paul.
He adds, “Rafael Macaranas, the Hosparus chaplain, helped David work through the grief he still felt about losing his wife. He comforted David and prayed with him.”
Paul concludes, “My brother died while I was singing ‘On Eagle’s Wings,’ the same song I sang at his wife’s funeral. I would recommend Hosparus to others. They are navigators that make difficult situations more manageable. I always knew I could make one call, and Hosparus would be there for us.”