This afternoon I had the honor of sitting on The Oaks front porch with several residents. We were having fun talking about the fine weather, commenting on how great the gentle breeze felt, how pretty Jeanne had made our front porch look, and the things we used to look forward to doing in the summer. Not long after we had ventured to the porch, Brian, our Liberty Hospice nurse, brought Ms. K to join us.
Ms. K is a Hospice recipient who is often observed sitting in a reclining chair, makes low guttural sounds throughout the day, and is unable to return conversation. Brian positioned Ms. K so that she was facing our group and then sat down beside her. Our conversation continued, moving from one subject to another with the residents lively joining in. We included Ms. K in the conversation, however, she did not offer any words nor did she make any of the guttural sounds we are so accustomed to hearing.
As another gentle breeze flowed across the porch we all commented again how wonderful it felt. I watched as Ms. K’s hair fell over her forehead due to the breeze. She seemed perplexed for a few seconds and then slowly brought her hand to her forehead to brush the hair from her eyes. It was like she was connecting the thought of “I must get my hair out of my eyes” with the action of actually moving her hand. After moving her hair from her eyes and forehead Ms. K smiled. One of the residents said, “That breeze feels good doesn’t it?” Ms. K smiled again.
A tall, dark haired gentleman wearing a red shirt and black pants who appeared to be in his late 60’s exited the front door , crossed the front porch, and began to make his way to the parking lot to his car. Ms. K surprised everyone by, and I cannot explain it in any other way, but let out a loud and long female “cat call.” The gentleman acknowledged Ms. K’s remark by blushing, sent her the most charming, unabashed grin, and said, “You have a good day!” Ms. K smiled again. (I think Ms. K made his day). Brian leaned over and whispered in Ms. K’s ear, “You don’t greet me like that.” Ms. K tilted back her head and laughed with a voice that rang of pure joy and an unmistakable “no I don’t” to which we all, including Brian, snickered.
As I reflect this evening on my day at The Oaks, I am glad I sat on the porch today, ignoring paperwork, and oblivious to budget details. I am glad that I was able to be an active participant in the interaction that played out between Ms. K, Brian, our other residents, and the visitor who caught Ms. K’s eye. I am reminded that it is truly the simple things in life that make our day worthwhile and how much these brief moments mean to our residents.
It’s the sun on our face, the wind flowing through our hair, the ability to give a good old “cat call” if you want to (even though it is probably not politically correct these days)…that brings a smile to the face. I am thankful for our Liberty Hospice services and for Brian who took time to bring Ms. K to the front porch. These are the simple joys of life we take for granted and seem to be missing in the daily lives of our residents, but can be given back in a few moments on a front porch. That’s the care that Liberty provides. It’s Brian’s care. It’s Hospice care. It’s our care!
On behalf of Ms. K and The Oaks, I would like to thank Brian for a most enjoyable afternoon.
Susan Hollett, The Oaks Administrator