Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Lesson Learned One of the more difficult visits is when you get to the hospice unit and realize a patient there was once on a regular floor. This has happened to me on more than one occasion. The first time this happened I tried to mask the surprise on my face. I hope I was successful, but honestly I don’t know if I pulled it off. As time progressed I have learned to manage my facial expressions to the point of keeping my emotions inside. I do know there have been additional times the same thing has occurred and upon entering a room on the hospice floor I have recognized a former patient from a regular floor. My comment was “Mr ____ there you are, so nice to see you.” This actually evoked a smile from the gentleman as he recognized Maggie and replied “good to be seen” I realize it doesn’t matter what you say as long as you say something. Many people are lonely and long for a conversation not related to their medical condition. So what do we talk about? I usually introduce Maggie (in case they have forgotten who she is), tell them how old she is and talk about what breed she is and how I care for her. If they seem interested (and they have the energy) I ask them questions as well. Did they ever have a dog? If so what breed? What was the name etc? Every case is different. There have been times when a patient has talked non-stop and there have been times when a patient has fallen asleep mid-sentence. Once after a visit Maggie and I were walking down a hall. We were approached by a couple who introduced themselves as (grown) children of a patient we had just visited on the Hospice floor. They pet Maggie for a minute and proceeded to thank me for taking time out of my day for visiting with their loved one. “My pleasure,” I replied With tears in their eyes they said “You don’t understand. Many people say they will come visit but really don’t. I’ve seen you and your dog wandering around here before. You make a lot of people happy.” I gave them a smile and repeated” it’s my pleasure.” I left the facility not only feeling like I accomplished something in my day but really learning the meaning of giving of yourself.