Linn Bartram and Dicki Franklin

Recorded February 11, 2020 Archived February 14, 2020 35:22 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: lsk002298


Dicki Franklin (71) and her friend and former colleague Linn Bartram (65) discuss their many years of friendship, their careers in nursing and working together in Home Health Care.


  • Linn Bartram
  • Dicki Franklin

Venue / Recording Kit


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00:02 I'm Jackie Franklin today is February 11th 2020. We are at Providence Home Care in Tukwila and I am here with my friend and former co-worker Lynne bartron, and I'm Lynne Barr Trump and it is February 11th 2020 and I'm here with Dickie who I've known for a lot of years and worked with for a lot of years and we're both nurses and retired at this point in our life.

00:35 Soul in what made you want to become a nurse?

00:40 So I think from the time I was 10 years old. I knew I wanted to be a nurse. My mom was a nurse my aunt was a nurse my uncle was a doctor and it just seemed to be the fact that I was going to follow. So I

00:57 Work in a nursing home when I was in high school to check it out and realize that I yes I want to be a nurse but I really didn't want to work in that environment and then went on to get my nursing education at Seattle University. How about you kind of the same thing? I think I wanted to be a nurse from very very early on. I remember reading Cherry Ames visiting nurse and thinking I could do that. I could make people feel better. I could probably come up with a cure for cancer and I just had all these Grand dreams of of what I would do in my nursing career and I wasn't totally

01:48 Just totally fixed on it for years and years. But I knew that that was kind of the direction I wanted to go but when I applied at Seattle U I got they had me put down my career preference. I put nursing and then I was admitted into the school of nursing so I thought well I might as well try this out and obviously just loved it. And when I was doing my home health rotation my public health rotation, I was absolutely captivated with being able to go into people's homes and see how they lived and it was that was something that that made me say I want to do home health. I want to be able to go into people's homes and change what may have led to their illness in the first place or at least help them change.

02:48 So

02:50 When I had the opportunity to get into Home Health, that's what I did.

02:56 And I always thought that I would be a med-surg nurse in a hospital and I did some hospital nursing right out of college and then I got married and we moved around because my husband was in the military and so I did a little bit of Clinic nursing when we were living in southern Germany and and we lived in Pennsylvania for a year and I worked in a small community hospital in and then we came back to Seattle. I worked on the stroke rehab unit at Northwest hospital and a couple of nurse friends had made the jump into home health care and called me and said I really needed to give that a try and then I say the rest is history I once I started working in home health. I realize that was the fit I needed. I loved what I used to refer to as the old guys and in those days that was back in the early 80s.

03:56 Those guys were usually people in their 80 and 90 at the years. And of course by the time I retired those people were in the early hundreds. So it was such an honor and a gift to be a welcomed into someone's home and to be able to hear their stories and learn from the older adults that we were able to serve had so much wisdom and to try to develop a partnership with those patients because that's what they really were to find something that would help them not go back to the hospital again or to live a little bit better with their chronic illness and that's exactly why I wanted to go into it because I always thought you know, we tune these people up in the hospital week. They're in a controlled situation a controlled environment.

04:56 And we can make things right for them. But then we send them back to their homes. And sometimes it's something about their their diet or the way, they took their medications or just their living situation that contributed to their illness. So we would send them home they'd end up back in the hospital again. And I always thought if we go into the home and we we determine what some of these issues are then we can help facilitate change for them.

05:31 I agree. I think one of the other things that I loved about home health was the fact that we had time sometimes to listen to their stories in the hospital. You were constantly being pulled into another room or phone call or you know, a lot of different situations and you didn't really have time to sit and just talked to the patient in home health, even though we were hurried and harried we still had time to talk to them and to listen to what they had to say. I always felt like like the patient's really appreciated that they they enjoyed telling about their grandchildren or about you know, I television show that they had just seen the night before or whatever. It was. I think they really appreciated us having the time to really sit and listen to them.

06:31 To get to know them and and sometimes we were the only people walking in that door in a given. Of time and I remember the most important thing for a little lady one time was that it was her birthday and the family hadn't come around and she just wanted to share a cake with that nurse walking in the door. It didn't you know, the purpose that I thought the visit was for went right out the window within the first 5 minutes because she had what was important to her and the gift of of having that time. So when we walked in the door that time belong to that patient and in the days of Noah cell phones, we didn't even have that Interruption there. I mean, we we set aside that schedule that time and it was one-on-one or family members if they were present but

07:31 Time is devoted to that patient. And I know after all the years. I I received so many more gifts of people's relationships and their willingness to invite me in then I could have ever given to them with trying to help with the with the illness side of things and making their day-to-day Journey with their chronic illness a little bit better. I remember one patient I had early on who was I think she was about a hundred and three so she was she was up there and I would always ask patients if they minded if I call them by their first name and I asked this one woman if she minded if I called her by her first name, and she said, oh honey, that would be so nice. She said, you know, all of my friends are gone a lot of my family.

08:31 Bursar gone, but nobody calls me by my first name anymore. She said my children will call me ma. My grandchildren. Call me granny, but nobody calls me by my first name. So she was so thrilled to have that it's you know, when it's over the years. I have seen probably thousands of patients and there are always some that stand out that

09:01 For whatever reason I will never forget them and I will never forget the relationship that I had with them. Some of them are patients that made me want to tear my hair out and some of them were patients that I just wanted to take home with me. I remember I had some one patient that I tried so hard to get him to change because he needed to change his health was being affected. His life was being affected, but he wouldn't and you know, he would for a while he would give me lip service and say okay. Okay, I will but he never did and I knew he never would but it it taught me that you know, my job was to go in there and change things if I could but mostly it was to go in there and help them.

10:01 Through their journey and give them compassion, you know, let them know that there were still people out there that cared for them and that wanted to see them getting better. And and you know, my fond memories really revolve around the years that we were able to be a partnership for a job share and how many patients we served together and we had the built-in gift of two sets of eyes and two thought process about how to go forward with those patients and knowing that they all got two of us because I work the beginning of the week you were at the end of the week and we just Blended really really well and you know during those years. I think sometimes about one of the the big Delights for me was when we were able to serve the sea.

11:01 Pearson the Carmelite Monastery and that's in Shoreline and as a little girl my mom used to take me to the nine-day Novena in the summertime and I always had a desire Wonder behind that screen. What do they look like? Because they were close stirred and when we were called to go into the Cloister to work with Mother Teresa, and she was 103 or 104 and you know, the author of walking behind the doors Into The Cloister. I had to keep my my mouth shut and pick up my chin on my chest. But another another very delightful aspect of life that we I could never experience because that wasn't my my life app to share with those sisters was just phenomenal in my memories. That's the I remember that cuz we had a couple of of the nuns there after that and got to be

12:01 Good friends with some of them. But again same thing as a little girl knowing that the carmelites were closer than they didn't get to go out and nobody ever saw them and it was such a mystery and to be able to walk up those stairs and actually go in it was it was amazing to me as well. I felt so privileged that that we got to do that and then I think as time went on whenever one of the sisters would need to have home health care. We always got called in and it Dad those were the days when we were Lynn Dickey and there were many people who would call in and say is Lynn Dickey there because they thought we were one person. That was a great partnership at West. You know, our philosophies were the same our work. Ethic was the same pretty much everything about the way we practice practice nursing was

13:01 Spot-on and so it was I think that that partnership was it was a partnership made in heaven. I like to think about that aspect. I think of of our work that was so inspiring to me was the resilience of some of these patients that we worked with who lived with really challenging situations and

13:31 When we were talking the last time we were together, we talked a little bit about Jim and he was a gentleman who had to become a quadriplegic from the time. He was a teenager and his mother who was so dedicated to him and she took care of him through those early years with all the rehab but then he became a relatively independent man with caregivers and he lived on his own. He completed college. He was able to laugh at him self with all of the challenges that he had but in the in the closing years of a man's life that was his mom, they live together in an apartment. And as he said to me one time, I'm the brains and she's the physical aspect. She cooks for me. She gets things for me and I make sure everything else.

14:31 Runs well and he had caregivers that came in the morning to get him up and in the evening to put him back to bed because his mom couldn't do that but it just was so inspiring to work with both of them cuz they were both patients from time to time. And then when the situation got so difficult, they moved into a long-term care center both of them together in the same room and then after his mom passed in spite of losing that woman in his life, he just continue to motor on so to speak and literally to Tim and after he passed they had a memorial service for him at that Long-Term Care Center and they planted a tree in his honor in the side yard and

15:31 I was privileged enough to be there for that ceremony.

15:36 Have you seen the tree lately? Cuz that was he died years ago. I wonder if that tree is flourishing. Well, yeah, there were there have been some amazing patience. You know, I think of one patient, I think it was actually before you and I started job sharing it was a woman who had Ms. And she was bedridden lived with her husband who was her caregiver. He was a very good and capable caregiver, but she at some point developed a decubitus ulcers and so we were taking care of those and over those years. I just I was amazed at her because she did not get up she would get up maybe twice a year. She would have get up in a wheelchair on Christmas and then there was one day

16:35 I think it might have even been her birthday that I'm all of her friends would come over and she would get up in the wheelchair and spend the day visiting with her friends and having cake and tea and everything else. Otherwise, she was in that bed all the time and her world literally was the perimeter of her bed. She had she was an artist too. And of course had lost a lot of the function in her arms, but she still was able to do a little bit of sketching every now and then so she had her sketchbooks and her pencils and her water and her food and half of the time I would find crackers in the bed with her and

17:19 A remote for her television, but everything was right there and she was the happiest woman I had ever met who was in bed like that all the time and I marveled at her all the time because she was able to make a life for herself in spite of her handicapped in spite of all of her illnesses, but she still was you know, she was happy she made her her life what it could be and she was always smiling always laughing. I would get birthday cards from her for years. In fact, I think until she she died and I always knew it was from her because the the printing on the envelope was very shaky, but nevertheless it was nice.

18:19 It was legible and she you know, she she kept on with that for as long as she could.

18:27 Another experience that we shared was working with immigrant patients. And sometimes the language barrier was a real Challenge and I'm not just kind of widened our team approach because there was usually an on-site interpreter in the earlier days and we took care of a Ukrainian couple at one time or another we serve both of them, but they lived in Supportive Housing and there was family around but the husband took such good care of fauna was her name and when we first met her she met us at the door and served us a cup of tea and over the years. She had become ill and was in a long-term care facility for a. Of time and

19:23 Unfortunately was dropped by the staff and fractured her hip which never healed and her husband was very determined to bring her back home and with the help of caregivers. He was able to do that, but she was essentially bedridden but she always had a smile for us. She was in constant pain and he was working so hard to have his time with his beloved fauna. He spoke enough English that we didn't really need an interpreter in that home, but she had a wonderful doctor who made home visits even though it wasn't part of her practice and we were honored to also I know we went together when she passed away to go to the funeral in and hear a little bit more of her story before she got sick. It was it was just there very fond embedded on my heart.

20:23 You know and that was we went to unfortunately many funerals over the course of our 30 to 40 Years of Homecare and it was always it was always a joyful event for me because we did get to see you know how beloved they were in their families and how and hear their stories hear about the the crazy things they would do when they were kids or hear Tales of you know, when someone so was a young mother or so and so was a young father and what they were like and what they what their goals were and what their lives were like before we entered in because we always came in at a time when they were sick or they were hurting and you know, hopefully along the way we made some of their

21:23 Life's better, but

21:26 You know, it was not we saw them when they were not at their best. So it was always nice again. Unfortunately going to the funerals they have to find this out but to find out what they were really like who they were when they were that like you said the young mom loving and raising children, you know where we're talking about happy memories, but there also were the sad memories for some of our patients the ones that I remember and it was difficult because there wasn't anything we could do about it and those issues usually we're all revolved around the social aspects of their life or the they might have all their physical needs met and the illness was responding, but they were very isolated and sometimes it's because I had no one but the ones that I remember that it hurt the most for me, but especially for the page

22:27 Were those that had family in the area who just didn't come and didn't call and these delightful moms and dads would make nothing but excuses or they're just so busy and I know they're too busy to come by and see me, but that's okay and my heart was just breaking when I would leave it was we didn't know the past history of what those relationships were in and was it difficult. Was it wonderful was it neglectful? Wait, we really didn't know but it just was a really hard thing for me to swallow when I knew how desperately they wanted a little attention from their family and it's you know what I think they're, you know, some of the patients that we had that probably by their own doing mostly the patients who had problems with substance abuse who had

23:27 Alienated themselves from their families and you know, there were so many times when I so wanted to call family members and say, you know, please come home and you know connect with this person again, because they are really in need now course we couldn't do that without saying to the patient. How about if I call your mom or how about if I call someone so but it's you know, those were those were the things that just broke my heart.

24:01 So many of these patients again were a lot of it was their own doing but nevertheless knowing that my job was to treat them with compassion and give them the care that they needed without judging, you know, it was hard to do that sometimes but you know, when you see these people who are hurting so much and who often times are hurting because of knowing that the choices that they have made have kind of landed them in the pickle that they were in but it was you know to be able to to be there for them was always a gift. I thought the gift to me. Yeah, I guess another thing. I really learned over the years where that people were people and it didn't really matter if you lived in the most beautiful home in

25:01 Wealthiest neighborhood in King County because we probably went to every corner of King County over the years or the poorest of the poor in shelters and sometimes in cars because they didn't have a home. They still were human beings that that should be treated with dignity and respect and I know we both came from backgrounds where we had parents who loved us and a house overhead and we were never hungry and and not everybody had that gift, but we were able to accept them for who they were and meet them where they were at that very moment and to work together with that person to find what would work for them going forward and sometimes we bring in Social Services. I'm going to bring in a rehab folks. I think that was an aspect of Home Health that I really really loved was the collegial support.

26:01 And the work of our team because the strategizing in the problem-solving that we could accomplish in our meetings or joint visits with another person from a different discipline really helped to improve the the likelihood that the situation that are patients were living in would be better for them and they would want to move forward because a lot of it was their own idea and that's you know, and I think that in terms of Home Care, I think it can be a very solitary kind of job, you know, you're going off and going to patients houses all by yourself, but always knowing that we had a team behind us and that if we had problem patients we could call in a physical therapist or a social worker or a speech therapist or OT, you know some

27:01 One else to kind of help us determine. What's the best way to take care of this patient? What is the best way for us to help them achieve their goals?

27:13 Sometimes it didn't have the outcome we would have wanted but I always had to ask myself. What is it that the patient really wants here because it's not about me. It's not about you. It wasn't about Providence. It was about the patient and I think most of our patients really realize that to know they were in control. It was their environment. We weren't in a hospital room walking in saying do this. This is what you're going to do. This is your schedule we came when they would allow us. We stayed as long as they would allow us and we could present lots of information and suggestions. But in the end it was up to them and I think that that, you know, many years ago. We kind of adopted the practice of asking the patient on the first visit. So what is your goal? What do you want to see happen and often times they were totally

28:13 Unrealistic, you know someone who was in a wheelchair and likely to be in a wheelchair wanted to walk down the street. So we knew that those goals would not be accomplished on our watch but it gave them control it gave them a purpose it gave them something to work for and so I think you know having that that first initial contact and determining at that point. What a what a goal for them would be letting them determinate. I thought that was that's the only way to do it because otherwise you were just

28:58 Banging your head against the wall because it wasn't in that then it would become about me or you and not about them. Yeah, and we were there to serve them and it was you know, if they don't buy into it then we might as well not be there. That's right. That's right.

29:19 And you know another funny little aspect of being in home health is if you work in your own neighborhood are your own ZIP code and having a former patient or family member come up to you in a grocery store and say hi Lynn and you have this sudden blank look on your face and and you're going I recognize the face, but this is the wrong context and I learned after it happened to me a number of times to say how I recognized you but I don't remember your name. I'm terrible with names and one little lady one time. I was picking out apples at Fred Meyer and she banged me in the back with her grocery cart, and she was actually a little offended that I didn't know who she was and she was the wife of one of our former patients and luckily at that point. I had enough of wherewithal to say.

30:19 Remember you but don't remember your name, but that happens periodically over over the course of many years and it's and it's happened to me a number of times as well. And it's the same thing. You you go out of the contacts that you normally see them and you go, who is this person and I have found some time is it if you talk long enough you're going to figure out who it is, but at the same time it also gives me an opportunity to find out what's going on with these with with these people often times. It's a family member that I see and you know, they'll start talking about mom did this and and mom did that and so I'm able to kind of figure out what mom is been up to and that's always been, you know, kind of kind of a fun thing so unfortunate sometimes but I also find out that

31:19 May have passed in those in the interim but it's nice to have that that little bit of closure with a lot of these patients. Yeah, and another thing that I suspect you have the same memory about is when you're driving through a neighborhood and you drive by a house that you've been in and you think I wonder how they are. I wonder what happened or you'll see a house for sale and then you think will did they die did they go to a nursing home? Did they move in with a daughter? There was one house and I'm pretty sure we were together as partners that we actually served three different Generations in one family and it was right on North Gateway right above Lake City. And the first time I was there it was a son and then the next time was the mother and then the last time was a child so there had been three generations.

32:19 All in the same house and I think that stands out to me. I don't remember any other families that I served and we've done the husband and wife teams and we've done mother and child but or grandmother and adult mother but I don't remember three and one I like to sometimes drive as I'm driving down the street go. I've been to that house. I've been to that house. I've been to that house. I've been to that and it's amazing to me how many houses in a single neighborhood and I know that we all used to sometimes as we would be driving along CA house that was in shambles in the blinds were down and broken and we would go that's a VNS house blowing vet at some point. If we hadn't been there yet. We probably would be somebody was going to be in there. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah those were the days.

33:20 Play what's a journey and and you know, I look back and home health for 35 years and you for 4141 was the best career it allowed me to.

33:36 To be a wife to be a mom to be a nurse and balanced at all because the hours were flexible. The work was hard. It was challenging but so rewarding and it made me the person I am now I look at life differently.

33:56 From the eyes of the immigrants. We took care of from the eyes of the sickest of the sick the poorest of the poor and realize what a blessing my life the gifts. I've received. I am so blessed and to be able to to be in this profession with the wonderful nurses you but the wonderful people that I've worked with over the years has just made me

34:22 I think a better person then I would have been well, you know, I have always said that that Home Health never made us rich, but the gifts that I received I think far outweigh what I gave and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

34:45 Well, I think that's probably a good place to talk. I would have her I would agree. So this was a special time to share with you my dear friend, and thank you learn for all you made you taught me so much. But thank you so much for all that. You have given me over the years as well. It has been in our friendship will go on and on and on forever, but, you know, it's been such a gift working with you, and I Echo that exactly I learned so much and thank you Deke. Thank you.