Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Another Sad Day

Several days ago the private duty patient with whom I'd worked for several years, became sick and died.

Today, while I was at her visitation, I found out that another patient of mind had died. I'd supervised Josh's care for several years; he depended on the care of his parents and aides after a very rare progressive brain disease left him unable to care for himself.

I will never forget the first day I walked into Josh's home. I introduced myself to Josh and his parents, and his mother said that it seemed like she knew me from somewhere. We talked about the various organizations and groups we belonged to, but there were none that we both belonged to. I got to know Josh, did my nursing assessment, and made arrangements to visit again in two weeks.

The next few times I visited Josh, his mom and I continued to try to figure out where we had met, discussing extended family (we both have small families), past jobs, and so on. We still couldn't figure it where we could have met before.

Then one day when I walked into their home, Josh's mom immediately pointed at me and said, "You're Shelly Geil!" (Geil was my maiden name.) Since I had been a "Burke" for almost 20 years, I was very surprised to find she knew my maiden name! But something I had said on my previous visit had jogged a memory in her mind, and she realized that my dad had been the principal at the Lutheran grade school in Battle Creek, NE, where she'd taught many years before. She had even been at my 5th birthday party!

After that I felt a special bond with Josh and his parents. When I received an e-mail that Josh was in the hospital, I visited, and he appeared to be doing much better. He'd given everyone a scare, but we thought he'd be home soon. Instead, his condition became worse and he went to his heavenly home. In her e-mail to friends and family, Josh's mom wrote, "The victory has been won. Josh went to heaven this afternoon."

I will never forget either of my patients, who, for a reason unknown to us, died within just a few days of each other. Both of the families taught me so much about life, love, and God's love...

I am blessed to have been able to work with them.

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