December 1, 2015
Dear Fellow Travelers,
A new month! I have missed our walking together. A little disclaimer: I just want you to know I have not been a couch potato all weekend. But I applaud you if you have been potato couching! If you were able to rest, recover and reflect from a horizontal position throughout the holiday weekend, I am happy for you and very jealous.
My walk took me unexpectantly to the hospital bedside of my dear 87-year old aunt. ( I had shared about her in my post, “Unmerited Generosity”). She took quite a tumble and ended up with several broken bones and many bruises.
With no children of her own, we (my cousin and my sisters) have stepped into the role of “her children”. There are official, legal titles like “Power of Attorney” and “Personal Representative” behind some of our names. But at the end of the day, she is my aunt and I am her niece and we are family.
My aunt always treated us as the children-she-never-had. She filled and hid Easter baskets for us and we enjoyed the hunt to find them. She took us to the circus and to see our first movie in a movie theater. We went shopping for school supplies every August and she showered us with Christmas gifts. She has always blessed us and now we have the opportunity to bless her.
We came to assist in anyway we could: help feed her, speak with doctors and nurses, make phone calls, and even help with her false teeth. I found out that too much poligrip just causes problems all day long. Use it sparingly. But we drew the love-line for our aunt at the bed pan. We thanked the nurses profusely as we walked out of the room and they walked in.
When you spend a lot of time in a hospital, you see many things. Some warm your heart, some break your heart. I saw a young nursing assistant washing my aunt’s face so very tenderly. It was a precious moment.
I saw in the room across the hall an elderly gentleman occasionally pick up a stuffed monkey and look at it. That got my attention so I headed towards the room. He had a full-time caregiver with him. But I asked if the monkey had a name. The caregiver told me that the gentleman was non-verbal. I noticed several other stuffed animals in the bed with him. I smiled at him and I hoped that conveyed some genuine love.
A few doors down, I saw 2 police officers placed very strategically. I can see that there is a young man in that room but his only company are these officers: one in the room and one in the hallway. All the time.
I saw a young man doing laps around the area with his IV pole in tow. Each day, he seemed to be moving a little bit easier and a little bit faster. I found myself cheering him on with each lap.
I saw my aunt’s pastor place his hand lovingly on her head and pray over her.
I saw needles; I hate needles.
I saw loneliness. Rooms with no visitors. Just the glare and noise from the TV. If loneliness fills their lives at home, perhaps they expect nothing more while in the hospital. That is sad.
I saw kindness and gentleness. I saw people helping people; people caring for one another. Sometimes through small actions; sometime through large ones.
I stayed several days, long enough to see my aunt be moved to a nursing home facility for some rehabilitation. Her life-walk to healing will be long and slow. I know my walk will take me there to visit her and to see her progress over the next several months. I know I will see more people caring for people at this facility too. God bless them.
Arriving home late last night after driving through a cold rain, I saw that my husband had warmed up my side of the bed with the electric blanket pointed to HIGH. I happily climbed into my own warm bed. After pouring out care to my aunt, someone was caring for me. It was a wonderful feeling.
People caring for people. Even in the small stuff.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch , a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”