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Home Health Care & The Story of Millie Biddle

Updated: Feb 27

Here is a shortened version of a story from my book: Off the Chart A Nurse's Journey of Heart and Humor. When I wrote the book, there were so many unforgettable home healthcare stories to share, that I divided them into three chapters: Advocacy, Heartache, and Friendship. The story of Millie Biddle is one I'll never forget; it is a story of friendship.

Such a warm and wonderful woman! Proud to call her friend.
Always smiling Millie.

In healthcare, we are taught about maintaining boundaries with those we care for. We are told not to get personally attached to our patients, but how can we help it when we meet some of the most remarkable people? We just can't help but forge a friendship with some of the special individuals we meet along the way. Although we are supposed to be caring for them, they often bring something into our lives too.

Funny how life does that thing where it brings people back into your life that you'd thought you'd never see again. Working in home health care brought several individuals back to me that had been a part of my life many years before. Such as the very dear nursing instructor from my psyche rotation in nursing school, Millie Biddle. How uncomfortable it was for both of us when I first saw her lying there so helpless. Ms. Biddle had always been such a powerful force as she commanded an audience of eager students. Now she lay there powerless and dependent on a home health care nurse to care for her post-op wounds. And there were multiple post-op wounds following abdominal surgery. The wounds tunneled into one another all across her belly. Sadly, after being on home health care services for months, they weren't showing any improvement.

That's because Millie's case was the one I talk about in my book in which a nurse had ordered BID wet-to-dry dressing changes and continued to go twice a day for months before he got caught. When the agency did catch onto him, her case was reassigned to me. Of course, I consulted an ETRN because they are the gurus of wound care. In Millie's case, the ETRN suggested we switch to a collagen alginate product, and the frequency of nursing visits was bumped way down. Wound care products, like medications, change all the time; it seems there's one that's all the rage until another one comes along.

We tried almost everything on Ms. Biddle's wounds, but nothing worked...

We were at a standstill when the patient herself took over. In the years since she had taught nursing, Millie had pursued and successfully achieved her doctorate in herbal medicine. So, Millie took it upon herself to pack her wounds with cayenne pepper, and all the wounds healed completely in just a few days. True story!

To read more about Millie Biddle along with this story in its entirety, check out:

Off the Chart A Nurse's Journey of Heart and Humor

Pick up your copy at

Published by Jennifer Tipton / This post may contain affiliate links.


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