Wednesday, November 26, 2008

D = Delightful patients.

As a nurse, doing home health full time & hospice prn, I get to meet the MOST delightful patients. Due to HIPPA, I can't post names or pictures of them, but I can tell you stories.

A good example would be from last Sunday, when I worked at Southwind Hospice House. One of the patients... an elderly woman who isn't well (obviously!) and is a new hospice patient was sooo sweet. She never complained, she only spoke well of everyone and talked about the huge love she had for her kids, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She had 11 children. ELEVEN! OMG, I can't imagine! However, she has 50+ grandchildren and 80+ great-grandchildren. It seemed as though about 70 people came to see her during my 7am-7pm shift. Well, that just showed what a wonderful woman she was. She doesn't have much money (who would with that many kids!) however, her children, grandchildren and their children came to see a woman who has made their lives better. Happier. And they talked about some of their memories.

As I was about to give report to the night shift, one of her daughters came to me and said. "Mom said dad was here visiting this morning, this afternoon and is planning to come take her on their final date tonight.... do you listen to things like this or just chalk it up to confusion?" ... see, her husband died several years ago, so, obviously he couldn't be here in body... but I firmly believe he could be here in spirit. So, as a good hospice nurse would explain to a family member, I told her "Yes, we do listen.. and yes, she could be going on her "final date" tonight". So, family decided to stay close by in case she decided to leave this world tonight.

I called the next morning, and she was still with us. I didn't get info as to her "date" with her husband, but my guess is she went on a date and just wasn't ready to go yet.

I have quite a few stories about my hospice patients seeing their departed loved ones just prior to death... also angels and other signs from somewhere else. Usually, it means they are close, very close. I don't work for another 2 weeks at my hospice job and I would be amazed if she was still with us. But, it's possible. There's only one person who knows if she will be or not.

I have many very delightful home health patients as well. I don't know why, but it seems that I connect with those who are very poor. Not poor in love, happiness or friends, but poor monetarily. Perhaps that's why. Growing up poor... perhaps that has stuck with me all these years and I can truly understand how they feel. And having met many, many financially rich people and finding they are so very unhappy, have no love in their lives or true friends, perhaps I know what richness is... and I am a firm believer that "rich" means that you have true love & friendships.. plus happiness regardless of your financial situation.

I have a couple who live together in their 70's. They can't afford to marry, because they would lose much of their income. However, they are rich in happiness. And I have really connected with them. I could spend hours talking to them, because they are so wise and caring. I am truly honored to be allowed to spend time with them, even though they think they are the lucky ones. They have no idea. No idea.

Don't even get me started on when D WOULD have = Dialysis. As I was a hemodialysis nurse for 7 years. Wow.. what great years those were. What great friendships I had with my patients, their families and my co-workers. I am still very close with many of those family members and co-workers... and I have been to many funerals. My heart has broken more times than I can count when I lost a patient I considered almost family. You can't spend 4-5 hours a day, 3 days per week with a patient & their family for years without becoming close. I have spent more time with some of them than I have some of my own real family... and they truly do become "family". And as we all know... family is for life. I still (2+ years later) keep in contact with many of them and keep them in my prayers.


numberonesistah said...

Amen sister.

ChiefChick said...

Thanks so much for doing what you do. You have been incredible in what you have done for our family. Love you!!