Hospice Story from Art Dahl
In around 12 years as a hospice volunteer my specialty seems to have been providing regular companionship to ancient men with degenerative conditions and a little relief for their principal care givers. And I’ve learned that absolutely everyone’s story is truly amazing. Three little tales from one of my favorite clients show that.
Let’s call him George (not his real name). He had been a marathon runner, a chess Grand Master and a successful manufacturing entrepreneur.
First, my assignment with George included helping him take a shower. Pretty straight forward except for one thing. George had a scrub brush and each week he wanted me to reach in and scrub his back. And every time I did, he said “I’ll give you one hour to stop that!!”
Second, we often went to lunch together. He liked getting out of the house even though he was all stooped over and needed a walker to get around slowly. My family has a wilderness stream-front cabin ten miles out Warm Springs. So, one summer we decided to get some deli sandwiches drive out and sit on the cabin deck enjoying the great outdoors. Because he wanted to feel the water, we left the walker behind and worked our way down to the creek. He never gave up enjoying what was available.
Finally, George, who lived modestly, became concerned that he was going to run out of money for him and his wife. So, he showed me his brokerage statements. Took me one look. I said “George you are a multi-millionaire and you’re 90 years old. It’s going to be OK.
Guess the conclusion for me from these stories and many more from many clients is:
In the direst circumstances many folks continue to be consistently positive, civil, and curious. And as Hospice volunteers we are privileged to enable and encourage that.
2020 Memorial Tree Virtual Video
To provide excellence in end-of-life care, serious illness management, and bereavement services; as well as support and education for patients, families, and caregivers.