Thursday, July 06, 2017 | Agape Staff
Just over a year ago Cynthia Benjamin, a life-long Hartsville resident became caught up inside a healthcare crisis when her husband Calvin fell in front of their home on the very morning of a scheduled doctor's appointment for an issue he was having with balance. Unfortunately, the fall caused a serious injury that left Calvin paralyzed from the neck down. That morning, Cynthia's life changed forever and in her own words "everything went haywire." For the next couple of weeks Calvin was seen by multiple specialists throughout the region and eventually ended up in a Long-Term Care nursing and rehabilitation facility in Virginia.
Mrs. Benjamin from day one of the crisis did not leave Calvin's side and attributed her belief that Calvin would recover to her unshakeable faith in God.
Misty Otey, an RN and Case Manager with the Complex Care Team at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, met the Benjamins for the first time in March of 2016. According to Otey, the Benjamins had one primary goal, to return to their Hartsville home to be close to their family and friends.
Otey stated, "Unfortunately, due to insurance issues, we were unable to locate a hospital, rehab or nursing facility which could accept him in transfer. Each time we would come to them with the disappointing news, Mr. Benjamin would still greet us with a smile."
The Benjamins understood their journey was coming to an end as Calvin's condition deteriorated and along with his decline, there was a heightened desperation to return home. Mr. Benjamin wanted to go home, so that he could "go home" to the Lord. The Benjamins made the decision to return home on hospice and would withdraw from the ventilator when the family was ready. Despite the painful realization for Cynthia, that Mr. Benjamin was not going to get better, she continued to be gracious and appreciative of everybody helping them with their struggle to return home.
Otely recounted, "On July 6, 2016, I was fortunate enough to be put in contact with Agapé Hospice. When it seemed all hope was lost, there they were, willing to go the distance to help this family"
Calvin Benjamin died in peace, surrounded by his friends and family just one week after returning to Hartsville.
The Benjamin's story is a story of inspiration, a story of a healthcare system where people can get trapped and fall through cracks and a story of hope, the kind of hope based in faith and determination. In Mrs. Benjamin's mind there was never a question of where she should be or what she should be doing. Her husband was helpless and she would be by his side until he no longer needed her care.
Mrs. Benjamin inspired every healthcare worker she came in contact with through her graciousness, attentiveness and determination to attend to her husband's needs and provided a remarkable glimpse into what true love and devotion looks like.
Mrs. Cynthia Benjamin will be presented with the "Fruit of the Spirit" award by Agapé Hospice for her unwavering dedication as a caregiver. The award will be a part of a recognition planned for Mrs. Benjamin during the Agape Pee Dee Advisory Board meeting on June 29, 2017.