Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Saying Goodbye

I had a long and challenging day yesterday. My morning was hectic. My regular Monday client returned from out of town, the older man I help in the shower and exercize with, so I was not planning to go back to (I'll call her Sandy, the one with the brain tumors) Sandy's house like I did last Monday. When I was done there, I had another client I was to spend the afternoon with, but I was told to call to confirm. I never heard back from her and the scheduler called me to ask me to go somewhere else to fill in. That fell through too. Just as I was about to leave my first client, I got a call from my boss saying I was supposed to go to Sandy's house today. I told him I would get there as soon as I could and I explained that they were supposed to get someone else to go there because my regular client was back in town.

This is not the first time that my schedule has been messed over because of some failed or mis-communication with the scheduler. I was even more irritated when after I arived at Sandy's I got a call from the original client I was "supposed to confirm with" saying she was expecting me this afternoon. I even started a big long letter to my boss telling him what a pain in my side the scheduler has been. She tries to work from home because she is playing taxi for her kids a lot. So she is making all these post it notes to herself and she is always calling me blindly asking me what my schedule is and can I go to stinkin' Lincoln, (which is an hour drive for me). Personally, I think she needs a lap top or at least a home computer so she can have all her info in one place. That's not really the point I was making, but it is related to my story.

Sandy's husband and daughter were glad to see me again. They are always thanking me and telling me what a support I have been for them and how caring I have been towards Sandy and how she just adores me. It has really meant a lot to me. I just try to help out where I can. My calmness helps them feel at ease too. I was glad to be there too, but I was still a little upset about the whole mix up over who was supposed to be there that day.

Sandy had a visit from the Hospice nurse at about 1pm. We talked about some of the symptoms she had been experiencing. The nurse did a brief exam and checked her vitals. She checked her pulse first. She had to do it several times, she said because she is so deaf that she can't hear it through her stethoscope so she would try feeling it. I suspect that Sandy bareley had one. When she was through with the exam she came and sat down and said to us that it will be very soon. I don't think the rest of us realized just how soon.

We were talking about some solutions to some of her symptoms and she kept shrugging them off and saying she doesn't think we will need them.

Her husband wanted to show the nurse an area on her body that was sore. He, the nurse and myself were helping to move her and change her diaper. I felt badly for her to have all of these hands on her. I try to be very gentle with her when I move her, but they were a little impatient. When we were through they raised her head and feet. This caused her to start coughing again from the flem that she had been experiencing. The nurse gave her more morphine to calm her.

Her husband was by her side holding her hand. Her daughter left to answer the phone when we started to move her. I think she was looking for an escape. Her husband asked Sandy if she wanted to see her daughter. She nodded, yes. He asked me to find her. She was just finishing on the phone in the garage. Her eyes were red. I told her that Sandy asked to see her. She burst into tears. I gave her a hug. She said to me, trying to convince herself, "I can do this. Do I look ok?" I told her I don't think she cares how you look. She just wants to have you near her.

I was sitting on the couch behind Sandy. Her husband and daughter were next to her side facing her. I could see their faces, but not Sandy. Sandy had stopped coughing. Her husband noted that she was smiling and that her eyes were wide open. The nurse said, "Yes, she may be seeing things that we can't see."

Sandy whipered to her husband, "I need to go." I interpreted it as though she was telling him that her spirit needs to go. He thought maybe she needed to go in her diaper. He told her to go ahead and we will take care of it.

The daughter was expecting her three kids to show up any minute. She didn't want them to see Sandy like this. She asked me to go to the kitchen and watch for them. The kitchen is just in the next room. After standing there a minute, I heard the daughter saying quite loudly,"I love you Mother. You were the best mother anyone could have asked for. I love you so much."

Her kids arived and I headed out to intersept them, but Sandy had already passed away while I was in the kitchen.

The nurse stayed to help with the details of notifying the priest and the coroner, etc. I was invited to stay, so I tryed to help out where I could by putting things away and I fixed some spaghetti for the family.

I realized as I heard one of the coroner's say his first name, that I recognized his voice. When he turned around. I said to him, "Andy Steed?"

"Oh my gosh." he said as he realized he knew me too. We said our hellos and I told him I was just there helping out. Then the husband pipped in...."This gal is wonderful."

"I know." Andy says.

"No, I mean she is incredible. She has been such a to us. She...." he went on.

"I don't think you have to convince him." I pleaded. I must have been the color of the spaghetti sauce by then.

We go way back to my Jr. High days. He was a friend of my brother's. We used to box eachother when he came over. I believe we even went on a date or two. I haven't seen him since my wedding. He was married with two kids then. He must have at least one more by now.

Sandy's family couldn't thank me enough for being there with them and supporting them at a time when they needed it most. I knew I was meant to be there with them that day. I to bag the letter that I started to my boss. It's strange how things work out in the end.

They made me feel so loved, as though I was a part of the family. The daughter made a special note on my timecard and the father called into the office and said, "If the World were filled with Trixies, it would be a better place."

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