Hospice -  sign for medical fitness and health careThere is a hospice around the corner from my home. For the last four Mondays I’ve been going to the hospice and visit the residents.  Today I went to see if Mr. G was there.

Last week I promised the wife, Mrs. G, that I would visit her today. I went into the room and the bed was empty; I had a feeling Mr. G. was not going to last through the week.  He was 89, she 78. They were married 60 years. She thought I was such a blessing to sit with her. Humbled, I thanked her for allowing me to stay.

Today I went to see Ms. W.  Some people here are in a transient state; they are present, they see you, but sometimes they look right through you.  It is like that for Ms. W.  As I sat with her, she kept looking over

my shoulder and looking at the right at something far off.  She was trying to say something to me, but I could not understand.  That frustrates me. I don’t want to pretend I hear when I don’t.  She allowed me to hold her hand for awhile.  I wanted to ask her how she felt since her roommate, Ms. G. died during the week.  That is the one thing I don’t care for with this hospice, there are two to a room.  Personally I want to die in peace, and I don’t want to hear anyone dying on the other side of the curtain.

I went to a couple of more rooms but all the occupants were sleep. I found a room where was lady was in there and she was moaning in (what I thought was) pain.  I asked her if she was in pain and if she wanted me to get a nurse.  She never opened her eyes and never responded.  I had a seat, held her hand and rubbed her head (like if I was brushing her hair). She stopped!  I couldn’t believe that I made a difference! I sat there with her like that for 10 minutes.  From looking around the bed, I learned her name was Ms. P. and she was a well loved church member.  I stayed with her a little longer and then left.

My next visit was with a feisty woman whose name I never did get. She welcomed me right in and asked me to have a seat. I learned she was born in 1917, she was from a sharecropping community down in south Georgia.  I asked her “What chu in here for?”  She laughed and said she don’t know, she’s “been waiting for a doctor and haven’t seen one yet – they all wear their white coats and they all look alike.”  I could tell she was ready to transition because she talked about her parents dying and all her friends are gone and there must be a reason why she is still here.  I wish I had asked her why she thinks she is still here.

In the next bed was a lady, Ms. J. I asked her “what she in here for?” and she responded she had an operation on her back. I didnt ask further because she is in a hospice, not a hospital.  She was telling me that her daughter had contacted her pastor and she hopes he comes to visit her soon. I REALLY hope the pastor comes through. I read some journal articles and I am aware in some cases spiritual leaders are not comfortable visiting the dying.   Ms. J. expressed the need to get some change of address postcards to different individuals and to her student loan people.  I promised her that tomorrow I will stop pass the post office to pick up some postcards and we can take care of that tomorrow.

Thanks for listening.  Until next week, be good.

BD