Home Health United & Blue Spoon Café Serve Up More than a Bowl of Stew

Everyone has things they wish to do during their lifetime – some big, some small. Sometimes they are a work in progress, sometimes a hope for the future, often they are things we plan to do tomorrow. But for those diagnosed with a terminal illness, tomorrows are uncertain, so wishes need to happen today.

Howard enjoying his oyster stew.

Howard enjoying his oyster stew.

Home Health United is dedicated to bringing exceptional care to patients at end-of-life and a big part of that is helping them make the most of the days they have left. Supported by the Home Health United-Visiting Nurse Service Foundation, our granting wishes program helps provide final wishes to our hospice patients. These wishes can be as simple as creating happy memories, taking a family vacation, meeting a personal hero, or seeing a loved one who has moved away.

But Home Health United doesn’t do it alone. We often rely on the generosity of local businesses to help make wishes happen. Businesses like the Blue Spoon Café in Prairie du Sac, where Director of Operations, Mike Boss helped us to grant Howard Nickerson’s wish for a bowl of delicious oyster stew.

Howard, who is in his 80’s, has lived all of his life in the Danville, Columbus, and Marshall area. Oyster stew may seem like such a small request, but for Howard it’s more than just a bowl of stew. "I’m a Norwegian, I like fish and seafood. I learned how to make oyster stew from my dad. He would go to market and come back with oysters. We always made oyster stew."

"Howard had expressed his love of oysters and oyster stew since he started receiving Home Health United services," stated Denise Cole, Home Health United Bereavement Coordinator. "He would tell me stories of his childhood and how he and his father would make oyster stew together.”

Delicious oyster stew courtesy of the Blue Spoon Cafe and Mike Boss.

Delicious oyster stew courtesy of the Blue Spoon Cafe and Mike Boss.

However, before you can make oyster stew, you need some oysters, and during this time of year oysters are hard to find because it is their spawning season. They are typically not available in the form that you need them, which is already shucked. But Mike came to the rescue and was able to locate a gallon of oysters in Virginia and ship them overnight to the Blue Spoon Café where he prepared the stew the next day.

Denise stated, "When I asked Mike if he was able to make the stew, it was Monday night. Tuesday he was able to find the oysters, and they were shipped the next day. We didn’t even know if we would have oysters for the stew and here it is Friday and we were able to make the stew and serve it. You just never know how a disease is going to progress and we were worried about time. I am so glad we were able to fulfill Howard’s wish."

During the process, Mike expressed how much he loves his job as Director of Operations at the Blue Spoon Café because of things like this. "I sent an email to Craig Culver yesterday. In the subject line I told him this is reason 867 why I love this industry, and I told him what we were doing today. I love what I do because I get an opportunity to touch people’s lives in a different way. My brother-in-law passed away from cancer four years ago; I did this in honor of him."

Members of Howard's family after enjoying a delicious meal together.

Members of Howard’s family after enjoying a delicious meal together.

Friday, June 24th was a wonderful day filled with family, food, and a healthy helping of love. We are incredibly grateful to Mike and the Blue Spoon Café for all of their help in granting this wish.

As for Howard, he enjoyed the oyster stew so much, he had three bowls and took home plenty of leftovers, "I could eat this oyster stew seven days a week for the rest of my life, my compliments to the chef!"

Want to help make wishes come true? Visit make a donation online or contact the Home Health United – Visiting Nurse Service Foundation at 608-276-7590 or Foundation@hhuvns.org.

Home Health United is a nonprofit agency providing home health, palliative care, hospice, home medical equipment, infusion and enteral services, and community health services throughout south central Wisconsin. For more information or to schedule an Informational Visit, please call 1-800-924-2273.