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Why Caring for Mr. Cook is Not “Difficult”

Why Caring for Mr. Cook is Not “Difficult”

Weama Kessem, owner of SYNERGY HomeCare of Edmond in Oklahoma City, was in the process of getting credentialed with the VA so she could provide home care services to veterans when she got a call from her contact at the VA.

She was told that they had a “very difficult” client that “no one can satisfy.” If she could make him happy, she would get the VA contract.

Undeterred, Weama and her team showed up on Mr. Tom Cook’s doorstep with an orchid, wanting to make Mr. Cook feel appreciated. He was, after all, their first veteran client, and they wanted to mark the special occasion. 

Mr. Cook recalls that first meeting, saying “his jaw dropped.” 

“They made me feel at home with SYNERGY HomeCare and I really appreciated that,” he said. “Since then, Weama has done everything she can to help me.”

Mr. Cook’s first caregiver was Dennis, who helped Mr. Cook with light housekeeping, food shopping, cooking and other tasks. They were together for six years, until Dennis was promoted.

“I was heartbroken,” said Mr. Cook. “I was happy for him, but sad for me.”

Fortunately, he wasn’t sad for too long. “Weama kept sending me winners, and I was never without a caregiver. My second caregiver was with me for three years. When the VA wanted me to choose another agency, I refused and said if I have to wait for SYNERGY HomeCare, I will.”

Mr. Cook’s current caregiver is Nicole, who provides help around the house as well as some personal care assistance. Mr. Cook is unable to walk anymore due to the effects of Agent Orange exposure during his three-year tour in Vietnam.

A Marine with the SATS Company (Strategic Air Tactical Support), Mr. Cook worked on a land-based carrier deck that could catapult planes into the air.

Being in the military instills a powerful work ethic, which he found strangely lacking in his first caregivers from another agency.

“Apparently wanting someone to show up regularly and on time and perform the duties expected of them labeled me as difficult,” he said. “Fortunately, none of my SYNERGY HomeCare caregivers agreed with that label and in fact go above and beyond for me.”

Mr. Cook recalls that when his transportation to water aerobics fell through, Weama provided him with a second caregiver to drive him to class twice a week. 

“The care I receive is wonderful, and people go out of their way to help. I feel truly blessed to have SYNERGY HomeCare taking care of me,” he said.

Weama and her team feel similarly blessed. They host Mr. Cook for lunch at the office at least once a year.

“We consider it an honor to care for Mr. Cook,” said Weama. “He was there for us and now we are there for him.”