At Heart ‘n Home, we focus on affirming life. We want our patients to live (the way they want to) until the very last breath they take. When Bob mentioned how he missed the days of driving his semi-truck and he wished he could take one last ride, our team knew that we needed to help make this happen. Bob had been a long haul truck driver throughout his life and since retiring he really hadn’t been inside a semi. We found a semi and driver!
We quickly learned that one of our CNAs husband, Johnnie, worked for a local dairy who graciously allowed him to use one of their trucks to take Bob on a ride. Next, we needed to figure out how to get Bob in and out of the truck safely. One call to the local Fire Department solved that issue. The Emmett Fire Department said they’d be happy to assist getting Bob in and out of the truck. With everything in place, the last thing to do was to let Bob know that we had arranged for him to go on a ride like he so desired.
On an unusually warm winter afternoon, we all headed out for the big ride. Bob was having a rough day and we weren’t sure that he was going to be up for a very long ride, but he said he still wanted to go. His caregivers got him ready and when the semi arrived, they pushed him outside in his wheelchair. As he rolled up, eyes fixed on the semi-truck, I heard him say, “Ooooh, look at that big rig.”
Bob was so excited that he stepped right up and started climbing in. The Emmett firefighters and Heart ‘n Home staff were gathered around close and gave him the little boost he needed to get into the cab. They buckled him in and he was ready to roll.
Johnnie started the engine, Bob waved goodbye to us all and off they went.
While they were gone on their ride I imagined the stories Bob might tell Johnnie along that ride. Tales of the places he’s seen around this great country of ours or maybe he asked Johnnie to turn on his favorite music. Maybe he got on the CB radio and made one last call out or talked about the trucks he used to drive. Whatever the conversation, there’s no doubt that Bob would enjoy the ride.
About 20-30 minutes later, the two truck drivers came rolling on up to our crowd. The smile on Bob’s face couldn’t have been any bigger. With a little help, Bob was able to get back into his wheelchair all while smiling cheek to cheek. He was so happy! He couldn’t quit laughing and smiling as our group posed for a few pictures. The joy he emitted was contagious. Everyone was smiling and laughing right alongside him. “This made my week!” he said, then added, “This has been the best day that I’ve had in months.” Bob’s huge smile never left his face. He truly was on cloud nine and laughed all the way back into his house. He even chuckled when he noticed that the cat even came outside to watch is ride.
After the ride, I asked Johnnie how it went. He said they drove around Emmett, to Plaza Road, then out to the highway. Bob talked the whole time about his experiences driving his semi from coast to coast. He made a lot of trips to Florida. He told Johnnie a story about one time he started going under a low overpass before he realized his truck couldn’t fit, his truck was too tall! Bob was so happy and enjoyed talking about the places he had been.
Although this may seem like a relatively simple request, the opportunity to bring a little joy to someone is priceless. This is what hospice is about. At Heart ‘n Home, we believe our patients should have the opportunity to live their lives to the fullest, each and every day until the final moment. Whether you want to stay comfortable in your home surrounded by family, you want to take one last vacation, or you want to take one last ride in a semi-truck, we feel a person should have the opportunity to try and fulfill their last wishes.