Peeling the Layers: Dan’s Hospice Story
The reason why we work in hospice is to take care of people at the end of their lives and ensure they look and feel their very best. We believe every person should be treated with the utmost dignity. One of our Personal Care Assistants, Abbie, shares a story of her patient.
When I first met Dan (name changed for privacy) he was pretty quiet and reserved. Dan was kind of like an onion with the thickest layers on the outside. At first, he hated anything to do with medicine, including nurses and doctors. I asked him one day why he hated nurses and he told me his story. When he was in his thirties, his dad was in the hospital dying and he started to rub his dad’s feet because that is what he did to show his dad he loved him. A nurse came in and told Dan to stop because he was going to kill his dad. Eventually his dad did pass and from that moment he hated healthcare workers.
With every visit we had, I peeled a little more hardness and layers off and I found that he had the biggest caring heart you will ever know. His nickname for me was “Slim” and he asked me to call him “Shorty.” He had some amazing stories.
On my last visit with Dan, he got the works. I gave him a shower, shave (with a cup of Old Spice aftershave rubbed in), then trimmed his toenails and fingernails. After I got him out of the shower and I had him almost dressed, Dan stopped me and with tears in his eyes, he asked me to get down to his eye level.
Those words brought me to tears. After the shower, I got him back in his recliner and he said, “Slim, if you need anything, you knock on my door. I have lots of money and I want to do something nice for you and the nurse, how about a banquet?” I told him that was a nice gesture, but we don’t want your money or a banquet. I explained that we work for a company that takes care of their employees and the nicest thing he could do, if he wanted to do anything, was to call the office and talk to the company owners and tell them what he thinks of us and our service.
He was very fixated that day on making sure the nurse and I were both okay and that we knew how much he and his wife loved us. I assured him that we didn’t want or need anything and that all we cared about was coming to see him and making sure he felt his best. Knowing that we were okay seemed to bring him comfort. At the end of my visit, I left Dan clean and happy.
The next morning I got a text from one of our nurses letting me know that his wife called and she wanted to make sure I knew he passed peacefully. My heart is sad, but full. He will be missed and he was loved. It was truly an honor that he allowed me to care for him.
If you or a loved one is struggling with a life-limiting illness, hospice may be your answer. Contact us today to see what we can do to help you.
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