Bianca Brown*, an only child, was looking for the right caregiver for her dad, Bob Bryce*, a World War II Marine veteran. Bob lived in a small town in Alabama for 66 years through March 2012, but the last 12 years were spent alone. At that time, after his driver’s license had been revoked and he could no longer live alone, Bianca and her husband moved Bob to an independent living facility two miles from their home in McKinney, Texas. When the demands of caregiving became too great for Bianca both physically and mentally, she turned to BrightStar Care of Plano/McKinney/North Dallas.
Arnold Bryan showed up, met with Bob, and exclaimed “I have the perfect person.” That person turned out to be Southeast Regional Caregiver of Year finalist Mistie Whitney. “Mistie’s stellar qualities are plentiful, but I think they can be consolidated into three categories: compassion, initiative and ethics,” Bianca said.
Bianca said Bob adores Mistie. “She treats him like a member of her immediate family,” Bianca said. “From visiting her grandchildren, to dinner with her mom, she includes my dad in her family activities. And it is wonderful for my father. When my dad gets grumpy, she is never impatient with him. Instead, she tells him that she loves him, and that always brings a smile to his face.”
Whenever Bob needs something from the grocery store or drug store, Mistie runs out. If he doesn’t like what’s on the menu, she takes him to his favorite restaurant or cooks for him. Bob won’t eat Chinese food for his daughter, but he’ll go with Mistie any day of the week, Bianca said. “She doesn’t let him get away with ‘pretending’ to shower, makes sure his compression socks are clean, pesters the building managers until a maintenance item in his apartment is fixed, alerts me when his supply of meds is getting low and makes sure he gets adequate exercise and socialization every day,” Bianca said.
Mistie even goes out of her way to assist not only Bob but other residents and even wait staff when the facility is overloaded, Bianca said.
When Bianca is out of town, she never has to worry about her dad’s safety. “Several months ago, I was out of town, and my dad fell,” she said. “I called Mistie, and she not only took him to the hospital, but stayed right by his side, took him home, fed him dinner and remained with him until he was ready for bed, about 16 hours. When I returned home, she had all the paperwork and also stayed in touch with me by phone to let me know exactly what was going on.”
Bob frequently tries to give Mistie money, but to no avail. When he makes it impossible to decline, she either gives the money to Bianca or hides it in Bob’s apartment and tells Bianca where it is. Mistie also meticulously monitors Bob’s pain meds and keeps a record of doses given. If he doesn’t need all of his daily allotment, she tells Bianca and informs her on where she placed the “extras.”
“She gives me all the receipts and an explanation for expenditures,” Bianca said of Mistie’s moral ethics. “I didn’t ask her to to do any of this.” Bianca could go on and on, and she has achieved the ultimate, in her words, peace of mind. “Mistie Whitney has not only greatly enhanced my father’s quality of life and safety, she is, in a word, a Saint.”
*Client name has been changed