This week was really quiet in the hospice. Out of the 22 bed facility there were only 10 or 11 beds occupied. Ms. W. died (see the 03.31.15 entry); the feisty woman from last week (whose name I never got) was still there, but asleep. Ms. P (the beloved church lady) was still there and when I arrived, three of her family members where with her.
When I saw that Ms. P. had her family members there, I left. I did not want to intrude on their limited time with their loved one. I realize now that I should have engaged them with conversation, asking them about Ms. P.: what was she like, the things she liked to do, etc. I’ve read research that the hearing is the last sense to stop working when an individual dies. This was an opportunity for me to get some stories out of the family and maybe get them laughing and possibly have Ms. P. hear some loving memories of her. I suppose I will get better “reading” these situations in time.
Remember Ms. J.? The lady I told you about who, when I asked her “what chu in here for?” Ms. J replied she had back surgery and I was confused because this was a hospice, not a hospital. Yesterday I met her and Ms. J told me that she is being asked to consider going to a nursing home. So perhaps her diagnosis is that she has more than six months to live? (People are only referred to a hospice care when they have six months or less to live) I haven’t figure this out yet.
There was a new lady on the floor, Ms. E. If you could measure how highly regarded someone is by how many cards, flowers, plants and candies are in his/her room, Ms. E has everyone on the floor beat. Hands down. She had cards taped along the TV stand and the walls. Four different types of flower arrangements and 2 plants. Balloons AND an Easter basket. Ms. E. had her nails done AND her face made up. When I asked her “what chu doin in here? Because you REALLY don’t look like you belong here!?” She thought that was the funniest thing she ever heard. (Maybe she was just being gracious. :-)) I retrieved some ice water and turned on the lights for her and together we watched a TD Jakes sermon. I actually enjoyed the sermon (it was about “Good Hurt”) and together we laughed and commented about what was being said. Once the sermon was over, I thanked her for sharing that time with me. I told her I would stop by next week. Ms. E told me to “please visit again!”.
One physical trait I have begun noticing is that when someone is close to death, it is the skin on their face shrivel up(?). One week I will visit with someone and their skin is covering their mouth (when their mouth is closed). The next week I visit them and their teeth are completely exposed, the next week when I visit, the patient has expired.
That’s all for now. If there are other things you want to know about a hospice, other than its residents, let me know and I will try to accommodate you.
These journals are so interesting to me, I have always wondered what happens at Hospice. I admire the workers for being able to write about there experiences and feeling. Seeing people in that transition state would hurt me, yet it would make me strong being able to take the sting out of death.
Great job Lisa Caraway Oliver, I admire you in so many ways.