I had a patient that was 99 years of age, a big strapping man, he was sleeping longer and eating less, losing weight, and having trouble walking. He had a personal caregiver that attended to all his needs, while awake he would get out of bed with assistance, and needed help to transfer to the wheelchair. Eat a few bites at every breakfast, lunch and dinner, and bedtime snack. He wanted to visit his hunting ranch one more time, sit on the front porch and watch the sunset one more time. We made arrangements with his daughters for transportation and contacted all the law enforcement departments between Crosby and Plano, Texas. We especially wanted the law enforcement department to know that our patient was a hospice patient. One of his daughters put him in the back seat of his Cadillac packed the O2 concentrator in the truck, kept a smaller O2 tack in the car with him and off they went. He spent 1 ½ days at the hunting camp and one more sunset. Returned home and passed away on New Years night.
The following are excerpts from volunteers’ experiences (names have been changed):
Bill was in the bed but awake and glad to see me. We did the “how’s it going?” drill and then we were quiet. I was looking at his wedding photo and then I asked if he remembered his wedding night. I said I wasn’t asking about the details but how he felt – excited, nervous, scared? He grinned and said all of the above! He told me they went to Biloxi after the reception. He talked about many memories after that for almost an hour. He said the pain in his side had eased up quite a bit.
Carl looked great and seemed to be in good spirits. He looked like he had just been showered and had on fresh clothes. I found him in the activity center. I re-introduced myself to Carl. He said he remembered me. I wheeled him from the activity room to the library where it was quieter. I asked him a lot about his life and he in turn asked me about mine. He loves books by Michael Creighton and books about the history of Japan since he had lived there. I told him I would be back in a couple of weeks and I would try to bring some books he might like. I think he loved the one on one.
Spent the first 20 minutes reading and praying with Martha. She was thrilled I was back and of course happy to see her new supply of chocolate! Told her I would be return on Tuesday.
Mr. Richards was in great spirits. I sat next to him as he sat in the recliner in the living room. We listened to some zydeco music that I had uploaded on my phone that reminded him of his wife and time in Louisiana. He smiled and laughed as we talked. He remembered me also which was nice. I think my visit had a significant impact.
Contact Nancy Schorr, Volunteer Coordinator, at Grace if you’d like to give of yourself to help someone!