Today was one of those days...the sky was so blue and it was warm and calm and smelled of spring. Everywhere I looked, I could see hope. I know it sounds so opposite after all the disgusting politics that are going on but today was just lovely. When I turned the corner from my house, I saw a mamma dear and her babies hanging out waiting for me to go by. I know it seems a little early, but life was that good.
I got to my first patients home and it was cool out and I shivered at I walked to his front door. I did all the things I do, the IV's, dressings, empty the garbage, fix them breakfast...the things that my patients expect from me and then sat down to talk. For some reason, today didn't feel so rushed. I left his house, wishing him a great weekend and headed to patient number two.
This patient, I have had for a very long time. She is old, frail and has the sweetest smile. Today, though, things seemed different. She was concerned, looking off into space and almost seemed like she was in pain. Her caregiver was concerned and wondered what was going on. I looked her over and really couldn't find anything obvious to think about or try to fix so I gently stroked her arm and watched her. She was thinking, and it was obvious she had something on her mind. Slowly and quietly (believe it or not) I asked her some questions...do you hurt anywhere? What can I do to help you? You seem unsettled...what's going on? Knowing her as I do, it was obvious she is unsettled but it didn't seem she was in pain. Sometimes, I told the caregiver, there is work to be done that we don't understand and we just have to make sure we are supporting the patient in that work...just keep her comfortable, love her up and we will watch her. Then I told her I was going to be around all weekend and to call me if she needed me. I sat in the car in the driveway and wondered if she was heading out of this world...
My third, fourth and fifth visits were lovely. Nice homes, nice people and a joy to care for.
My sixth and last visit of the day was around 3 pm. I arrived to find my patient doing well and enjoying the day. I did all the "assessment" things I need to do and sat in the recliner. She sat in her chair and we began to talk. We talked about her family, her grown kids, grand kids and how wonderful and smart they are. We talked about her life when she was raising them and how different they were from each other. We talked and talked and talked. Before I knew it, I had been there an hour and 15 minutes. I decided it was time to finish up, so I walked over to her medication planner and she and I talked through the medications and why she took them and when.
Finally, we walked through the kitchen and stopped at the refrigerator to look at what she had on it. It was filled with pictures of her life, when she was a young mother, her husband, her dogs. She went from picture to picture and talked lovingly about the folks in them. She told me of the grand kids, the daughters in laws, the great grandkids and when they had come to visit. It was a 45 minute snippet of a life well lived and loved. Finally, I asked her about the picture in the middle, one of her husband who is gone, smiling a huge smile right into the camera. I looked over at her while she was talking about him and she had a big smile on her face. She ran her hand over the pictures on the door of the refrigerator and then she turned to me and said, " I like these pictures here because whenever I go by, I look at them and remember what I good life I've lived".
She walked me to the door and I bent down to give her a hug and I felt a sweet kiss on my cheek and heard a quiet " I love you" in my ear as I pulled away. I told her I loved her too and I would see her next week...
There are days in my life that I rush through and when I get in bed, I can't remember what I've done. I have regrets about those times as many of them were when I had three little kids and needed to get them through the day. Now, I am trying to slow down and remember how my heart felt, what something smelled like and the colors in the room.
I'm so glad I took the time today to slow down, listen and feel that kiss on the cheek and whisper I love you...because my heart felt like it was going to burst, the cheek felt soft against mine and all I could see was the bright light of love.
It was a beautiful day...and I have to try to make all my days like this...
We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,