Jesse and Sascha Garn // Hospice
Keith Garn wanted to get healthier, so he quit smoking and began going to the gym. He was making a true lifestyle change. A year later, he was at the gym and passed out. Then, he passed out in the grocery store. When his son, Jesse, learned about the incidents, he encouraged his father to go to the emergency department at Reid. But by the time he arrived, Keith was in critical condition.
“He was in a coma for five days,” Jesse said. “We thought he was going to die.” Jesse stayed by his father’s side, hoping and praying. Finally, Keith regained consciousness. “Dad said he heard me praying,” Jesse added.
Under the care of cardiologist Dr. Robert Fleming, Keith had two stent placements. “Dr. Fleming was great and had really good bedside manner,” Jesse said. Keith regained strength and was able to have one more needed stent. While being treated for his heart issues, Keith had a chest X-ray that pointed to something more – lung cancer. Though it was difficult, Jesse was relieved the heart attack allowed doctors to identify the cancer. Otherwise, it may not have been found.
When the heart procedures were completed, Keith was able to begin chemotherapy under the care of oncologist Dr. Derek Serna. Two rounds of chemotherapy treatments helped, but the cancer was far to progressed. Now two years from the cancer diagnosis, the disease had spread into Keith’s bloodstream and liver. It was time to discuss options.
“Dr. Serna said Dad would live another six months if he continued chemo,” Jesse said. “Or he would live about three months without it. Dad was ready to come off the chemo.”
Disease navigator Brenda Bowman worked with the family to coordinate the transition to hospice care, and Keith moved to Jesse and Sascha’s home in Union City, Ohio. Not only would he have time with his son, he would be able to enjoy his granddaughters, Kaliegh and Cloie. Keith loved making the girls laugh and listening to them play the piano. And Sascha’s home-cooked meals made his day.
“One day we were driving by the snow tubing place in New Paris, and Dad said he wanted to do that before he died,” Jesse said. So they made plans to have a family outing and made a lifelong memory.
The hospice team checked in regularly to monitor Keith’s pain and comfort levels over the next few months. “I liked Marge (nurse) a lot,” Jesse said. “If we had trouble, she would come and explain everything.”
“Marge was really helpful, telling me we were doing a good job,” said Sascha. “It made me feel like they would be here for me. And when it got bad and I did need them, they were here.”
Cloie looked forward to the nurse visits too. “Virginia was my favorite!” she exclaimed. The hospice team became a part of the family.
“The chaplain is helpful. He came over and gave us ideas on how to talk to the kids,” Sascha said. “We did what he suggested and had a family meeting to talk about heaven.”
As a part of the hospice program, families are invited to bring the patient to Reid Respite Care for up to five days. This allows them to have a break. After several months, the Garns decided utilize this service. Keith passed away while at Reid, but the hospice team was there to help and made the call to Jesse.
Through the hospice program, Keith and his family were able to make lasting memories that would not have otherwise been possible. “Dad died happy,” Jesse said.
The Hospice Fund provides important care for families dealing with the death of a loved one – clinical and spiritual support. It is part of our mission to support “Wholeness – in body, mind and spirit.”
Reid Foundation supports important spiritual care for patients and families through the Hospice chaplaincy program. In 2013, a $72,000 grant from Reid Foundation provided care for 320 families in Reid’s service area.
If Reid Hospice is important to you or someone you know, make a contribution to the hospice fund today.