My 96 year-old mother had been failing gradually over time. Being quarantined in a nursing home, visits were limited to outdoors or window visits. It was difficult to engage her in conversation, seeing as she was deaf. She could hear a bit out of her left ear and could read lips to a point, but when masked, making speech sound muffled, she just checked out a bit more each visit. The nurses were excellent about calling when Mom developed a bruise or a frequent skin tear. Those calls were appreciated, but not unexpected.
Monday, October 26, I received a different kind of call form an R.N. It was about 9:00 p.m., which was later than a usual call time.
“Hi, this is Patty. I’ve been your mom’s nurse this evening and I just need to tell you that she is not doing well at all.”
I knew exactly what that meant. The end was near. I cannot remember how I responded to that news, but she went on:
“I was a hospice nurse before I came here, so I know what I’m seeing happen. I just thought you should know.”
I thanked her profusely for having the courage to deliver such difficult news. I wondered why nobody else had made a similar deduction.
Mom’s hospice nurse was contacted and we learned on Tuesday that she might have 36-48 hours. I processed the news with both regret and relief. She hadn’t been living with any quality for a long time. Mom passed away October 29th.
I was so very grateful for Patty to have had the courage to make that difficult call. I will never forget such kindness. In fact, As soon as I send this, I shall write Patty a long overdue thank you note. Other families need an advocate inside a nursing homelike we had. Knowledge, delivered with compassion, is the main thing. The important thing. The only thing.
Bobbe White, Quincy IL Banker, Professional Speaker, Author, Certified Laughter Leader Expert (Seriously)