What would you do if not one—but two—of your parents were in need of your care? After her dad and mom suffered serious injuries, Debra learned how it feels for parent and child to swap roles. Lucky for her, a caring soul in her community stepped in when things were beginning to get just a little too hard…
A former NBA referee, Debra’s 75-year-old father has remained in great shape since retirement. Whether shoveling snow in the winter or doing yard work in the summer, Paul spends a lot of time working outside—but he’s never too busy to wave hello to neighbors as they pass by. Described as “the kind of person that makes everyone feel … important,” Debra’s dad is well-liked in his community.
One day, Paul suffered a serious fall. He thought the wind had simply been knocked out of him, but he had actually landed head first into the concrete wall at the base of the stairs. He didn’t know it then, but his injuries would turn out to be much more severe than both he and his doctors presumed.
After being rushed to the ER, Debra’s father was told he had nothing more than a few strains and sprains, and was sent home to recover. But when Debra’s sister stopped by three days later, she noticed that his stomach looked distended. She asked a neighbor (who also happened to be a doctor) to stop by and take a look. When he did, he told her to call 911 immediately.
During her dad’s second trip to the ER, the truth about his condition was revealed: His neck and back were fractured, his shoulder joint and scapula were broken, and some of his internal organs were bruised. Because he had not received the proper care when he should have, his large intestine was now blocked and some of his internal organs were paralyzed.
Debra’s father spent the next 40 days “fighting for his life” in the local hospital. With Judy (his wife of 55 years) by his side and frequent visits from his children and grandchildren, he became stronger each day. When he was finally sent home over a month later, there were many hugs and happy tears.
But this wasn’t the end of the family’s struggles. Six days after Paul’s return home, Judy tripped on his walker and broke her hip. Now it was her turn to be hospitalized! Debra’s mom ended up needing a full hip replacement surgery that kept her in the hospital for close to two weeks. “These 12 days [proved] to be the hardest and most trying on my family, as now the caretaker was also in need of a caretaker,” Debra recalls. “It was the most unexpected, scariest, tiring, [most] anxious period of my life.”
“While my dad was in the hospital, I had been sharing news of his recovery with the members of my VarageSale community,” she explains. “So I didn’t hesitate to let them know about what happened to my mom. I was beyond touched to see how many people (some strangers!) reached out to offer words of encouragement and support. To this day, I still feel very blessed when I think of their kindness.”
But one particular member, Heather, couldn’t take it any longer. She recalls:
It didn’t take long for Heather to think of something she could do to help. A mother of six who cooks from scratch seven days a week, for Heather, cooking is an expression of love. And no wonder! She only uses organic, locally sourced meats and veggies when she cooks. In fact, this year, her family plans on growing 20% of what they eat.
Heather decided to prepare “the healthiest, most restorative thing [she] knew how and take it over to [Debra’s dad].” And what could be better than noodle soup when you’re sick? Heather’s organic noodle soup, of course! She used bone broth (known for its healing qualities) to make the soup base, and made sure it was overflowing with a ton of “super” veggies, like organic carrots, celery and kale.
“I cook all the time for my own family of six, so it really wasn’t a stretch to make the meal a little bigger,” explains Heather.
When Heather dropped by with her special delivery, the family was truly moved by her kind gesture. And although Debra wasn’t home at the time, she couldn’t thank her enough later. “It was one of the nicest and kindest things anyone has ever done,” gushes Debra.
They say chicken noodle soup is for the soul, but Heather’s soup is definitely full of heart!