Home health nurse fighting for patient’s needs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 21, 2000

Ever since Sibyl Barrineau started working with Central Alabama Home Health Services in Greenville as a nurse visitng patients' homes to care for them about six years ago, she has known Bobby Thompson.

During those years, Barrineau visited Thompson's home every week to provide wound care, assessment of vital signs and other nursing duties.

Recently, Barrineau has exceeded her duties as a nurse at Central Alabama Home Health Services by trying to raise money to buy Thompson a window air-conditioning unit for his Highland Homes house.

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Thompson, 47, was paralyzed from the chest down after an automobile accident 15 years ago and is now bed-ridden. Because he must stay in bed, he must have a special bed that keeps air flow consistent around his body keeping him from developing bed sores.

This bed, called a Clinitron, operates on a climate-controlled basis, using the room's temperature to operate. When it gets too hot, the bed shuts down and will not operate until the air temperature cools.

Since Thompson lives in a home without air-conditioning, it was difficult for he and Barrineau to keep the bed operational.

"He had wounds at a stage where they were beginning to heal, but they just weren't healing because of the bed," Barrineau said. "I knew he had to come off the bed for them to heal, or get an air unit."

So, Barrineau worked hard, asking businesses and individuals in the area for donations for the unit, raising over $180. Once the company she worked for discovered what Barrineau was trying to do, they offered to donate $150 to her cause.

"It would get so hot in this room, that I'd come in here and find Bobby with a fan sitting on his chest, trying to stay cool," Barrineau said.

Eventually, the company that makes the Clinitron bed donated the money to buy the air conditioning unit, which will be remote controlled, so Thompson can change the temperature from the comfort of his bed.

The money which Barrineau raised will be used to pay Thompson's electric bill to help him have the unit.

Charlie Dawson, a friend of Barrineau's, will also help rewire the house to accommodate the unit.

Barrineau said she is pleased to be able to help Thompson in any way possible.

"I feel great about doing this for him," she said. "I'll feel even greater when we get that air conditioner plugged in and running. Bobby doesn't ask for anything, and he's always grateful for anything anyone does for him."

Thompson said he does not know what he would have done without Barrineau over the years, especially now that they have become friends.

"When you write her name, you need to put "Angel" up under it," Thompson said.