Red Yoder is an 80-year-old farmer who lives alone in the farmhouse where he grew up. It is located 20 miles outside of town. Red has been a widower for 10 years. Red cooks for himself rarely and mainly eats packaged or processed foods. His son Jon manages the farm now, but Red is still involved in the decision making. Reds current medical problems include insulin dependent diabetes complicated by an open foot wound. He also has some incontinence and difficulty sleeping.
Red is awaiting a visit from the home health nurses. He relates that he has an open wound on his big toe that developed after walking in a new pair of shoes. When his daughter-in-law Judy saw the wound, she called the family doctor, who suggested a visit by the wound care nurse who works with the home health agency. Red agreed as long as his VA benefits cover the costs. Red is aware that his son and daughter-in-law have concerns about him living alone, but Red insists that while he needs a little help from Jon and Judy at times, he is still capable of caring for himself.
Two weeks after the home health nurse visits, Red misses his Monday morning coffee at the local VFW. He has also missed church for the past four Sundays. He usually has a few whiskey sours a day and needs to take something for sleep (Benadryl). Jon (Reds son) gets “irritated with me over my beer and whiskey habits and yells pretty loud” at times. His friends “worry about him.” “I know its only 20 miles to the VFW, but I just havent felt like eating the last couple of days; maybe Ive got the flu thats going around.”
Red does not like to cook and usually picks up whatever is convenient, such as cake and donuts and some fast food. He also loves bacon! The home health nurse wanted to make sure he didnt get an infection in that toe and now she is back to change the bandage. Red relates to the home health nurse “Im not sure if I should take my insulin because Im not eating, but my blood sugar was 203 when I poked my finger this morning. How can my sugar be that high when Im not eating much? I just took off my sock to check on my sore and my whole foot is red and big. I havent looked at it for a few days; it was just a little pink the last time I checked it. I should have paid closer attention to those pills I was supposed to take, that antibiotic. “
Red requires admission to the hospital for sepsis of the wound.