News & Stories

Barbara Finally Able to Breathe Easy

Barbara Hayes used to be afraid to sleep in her own bed for fear she’d stop breathing and not wake up. Her doctor told her she stopped breathing 20 times in one night. So, she moved to her living room recliner to try to ease her sleep apnea. During the day, she wasn’t herself.

“I had no get-up-and-go. I was just cranky all the time. My grandbaby would come over, and I didn’t even want to be bothered,” Hayes said, shaking her head, remembering how awful it used to be.

Her doctor ordered a C-PAP machine to help with her sleep apnea, but it was stolen from her porch the day it was delivered. When Hayes’ CICOA care manager Alandria Wells learned about the theft, she went to work trying to figure out how CICOA could help get her client a replacement. Through CICOA’s Client Assistance Fund and through the Sleep Apnea Association C-PAP Assistance Program, Wells was able to get Hayes a refurbished C-PAP machine.

“If I could have, I would have jumped to the ceiling,” Hayes said.

The machine not only has helped her get a good night’s rest, but also helped lower her blood pressure. She now has renewed energy and a new outlook on life.

At only 63, Hayes suffers from degenerative joint disease, diabetes, sciatica, COPD, asthma, arthritis, cataracts, gastroesophageal reflux and dysphasia. She said her health decline began many years ago after her car was struck by a trash truck. She’s never been the same since. A self-professed tomboy who used to lift weights with her brothers, she now struggles with depression.

“I can’t do the things I used to do and I want to do. I know I’ll never be that way again, but I want to be back half way,” Hayes said. “I’m ready to make a change. I’m ready to get better.”

Her siblings encourage her to get out more, to walk a little bit every day. Now that she has more energy, she feels optimistic that she can. She and her mom are planning to take a water aerobics class at the Avon YMCA, and then maybe have lunch at the café and be around other people. Just to get out.

Hayes once was a home health aide, and she also drove an IndyGo bus transporting people with disabilities. She has a big heart and likes to help others. CICOA made the bathroom in her two-bedroom apartment handicapped accessible, helped her get a wheelchair and replaced her broken recliner. A home health assistant comes by daily to help her bathe, dress and do some work around the house.

“I am blessed and happy I have CICOA,” she said. “I don’t know what I’d do without them.”