This month marks the one-year anniversary of a very special event here at MGA Homecare. Last May, we welcomed our Senior Clinical Advisor in Colorado Springs, Angela Poe, BSN, back to work after she overcame an involuntary temporary leave following a health emergency. In recognition of her return, we’d like to share her incredible story as well as celebrate her strength and dedication to helping others.
Angela Poe first joined the MGA Homecare family as a part-time field nurse back in 2006 in Phoenix. It didn’t take long for her to show how much she could offer the team and was quickly transitioned into case management and then a supervisory role on our corporate team. She worked as a liaison between field nurses and the leadership team to grow MGA Homecare in the Phoenix area to serve more than 500+ patients per week.
In June of 2012, Poe was given the opportunity to relocate to the Colorado Springs office to become their new Director of Nursing.
“I loved my team and my job in Phoenix, but I didn’t want to live in the desert anymore. It was time for something new and was a great growth opportunity for me to go to Colorado,” said Poe. “When I got here, I started working closely with Cal and Justin – our Administrator and VP of Business Development. We had already worked together during my visits to Colorado for training which made the transition easier and made it so I could hit the ground running to start organizing the clinical-focused side of the office.”
Over the next five years, Poe and the rest of the Colorado Springs team saw exponential growth. Through her hard work, she was at the top of her career as an instrumental part of the leadership team.
“Poe has anchored the Colorado offices from inception,” said Alicia Johnson, Home Health Billing Manager in Colorado. “We’ve had staffing changes through the years, but the consistent leadership of Justin, Cal, and Poe has provided the stable foundation on which we’ve built our offices.”
Then, one evening in the fall of 2017, Poe was out with her friends and husband when suddenly, she was no longer able to breathe. Her husband called for an ambulance to take her to a nearby hospital but by the time the ambulance arrived, she had no pulse. Paramedics weren’t able to intubate her in the field, so they had to wait until they arrived at the hospital before they were finally able to stabilize her.
“Even after just a couple of days in the ICU, I was doing a lot better. I could talk fine, walk fine, but I couldn’t see very well, and my vision was fuzzy,” recalled Poe. “Because I was doing so much better, they sent me to the rehab ward in preparation to be sent home.”
Seemingly on an upward swing, seven days after the initial incident that caused her to be rushed to the hospital, Poe noticed her tongue began to twitch uncontrollably, she couldn’t form words to communicate with her husband or nurses to let them know what was happening. After taking her in for an MRI scan, doctors discovered she was experiencing seizures as a result of the extended period of time she was without oxygen.
“It was difficult not being able to communicate with anyone during that time. Nurses and doctors would talk about me and talk to one another about my care, but I wasn’t able to respond to let them know I could hear and understand them.”
Poe’s work in the healthcare field let her know that this was serious, but it was something she could overcome if she put her mind to it. She kept this attitude as she began her second round of rehabilitation and physical therapy.
“I think being a nurse made the experience easier in some ways and harder in others,” said Poe. “I knew what was happening and I knew why it could happen, but after all, I didn’t know why or have any real answers. It was really frustrating at that time, but I knew I’d get through it.”
Poe was now on the other side of things, experiencing working with a group of different nurses, therapists and doctors. She worked hard every day with the goal in mind to not just get out of the hospital but to return to some sense of normalcy.
“My main goal was to get home by my daughter’s 10th birthday on November 29, but I set an even more ambitious goal of getting home by Thanksgiving.”
After spending 54 days in the hospital, Angela was able to beat both of her goals and return home on November 15.
“Poe embodies the saying ‘you can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond to it’,” said Cal Critchfield, Administrator in Colorado Springs. “She has overcome these recent obstacles with the same courage, patience, and sense of humor that also helps her succeed as a mom, wife, nurse, and manager.”
Only two days after being released from the hospital, Poe made a trip to the MGA Homecare office to visit all of her colleagues, who are more like friends.
“Tears definitely happened, both from myself and others,” she recalls. “There was a line about 60 people deep for hugs.”
After visiting the office, Poe was even more determined to get better. She wanted nothing more than to get back to work in order to serve her patients and their families. After working hard to regain the speech and motor-skills she had lost, Poe was cleared to come back to work in May of 2018 and has been here ever since.
“Poe has been instrumental in creating the family atmosphere that we enjoy in our office,” said Justin Grant, VP of Business Development in Colorado. “We often say that MGA is different because of the people that we are blessed to work with – Angela Poe is at the top of that list.”
Every day our Colorado Springs office has the opportunity to say they work with someone inspirational, charismatic and determined. Poe, our friend and colleague, embodies not only what we hope to find in our team members, but what we hope to instill with patients and families.