Friday, May 8, 2009

Maria and Dudu with patient and grandaughter

By Laura Mosby

Wow what an experience and I just really don’t know where to start. By far the most moving experience so far has been the home visits we went on with the Sisters (nurses) on Monday. I went with Maria. What a little spitfire. She was such a delight to be with. We shared a fierce sense of humor and compassion for the patients. We quickly became buddies and I learned so much from her. She has been a Hospice nurse for over 20 years and knows her patients and community very well. She has such an easy way and warmth with her patients, the community and us, her guests. I was so impressed with her openness to talk about her struggles in the field and the plight of the community. When I asked her about her wish list for her patients and coworkers. She said she wished for food for her patients and umbrellas for her coworkers.

DuDu the Community Care Worker, like our Home Health Aides, works alongside Maria and walks approximately 7 miles each day from patient to patient. Oftentimes in the rain or blazing sun. She only makes about $100 a month and cannot afford transportation. This is the case for all the Community Care Workers. With this being such a basic need, the next day we were able to buy 30 umbrellas. We gifted them along with a little cash for transport, to the Community Care Workers during a Support Meeting we facilitated. They were so appreciative you just would not believe it. My how little things can go a long way.

These women are phenomenal in their dedication and advocacy to patients and their community. The love they feel and share is evident in everything they do. They carry joy in their hearts as they face tragic and difficult situations and every time left the patients feeling demonstratively better for their visits. It was a great honor to walk alongside them.

I meet 5 patients with very interesting stories. Some very sad cases (See Roxie’s earlier post), some inspirational, but all striving to live the best life they can, given the conditions they endure. I met a grandmother with severe pain issues more concerned about who will care for her family, including her 2 year old granddaughter, once she dies. She is the only source of income.

I met a male patient with AIDS who lives with his brother and sister in the family home. His family has abandoned him due to his illness. They openly chastise him and will not provide meals or care for him due to the stigma of HIV/AIDS. He has become an advocate in the community to increase awareness and education but lives in a lonely home. When I asked him if he could have one wish what it would be, he answered peace and communication in his home. Not a cure, not a different financial situation…he wants the love of his family. Made me take pause.

The power of human relationships to feed our spirits…to give or to take away. May we all try to give, even when it is difficult or frightening, or uncomfortable.


1 comment:

  1. Hi to all. Thank you for the great updates. They let me feel like I am right there with you. The pictures are great too. Can you believe a week is almost over? Best wishes as you continue to experience and share these touching moments. You remain in my thoughts.