Monday, February 11, 2013

Home Visits With Sisters

Visiting with the Sisters (nurses) has been an incredible experience.  The love and compassion extended is truly universal.  The circumstances and setting might be a bit different but the caring and love has only one voice.  Sister Joanne leans over the patient who is turned on her side facing the wall - she can't see the Sister's face and it only adds to her confusion - so Sister Joanne gently wedges herself between the wall and the patient, lying on a mattress on the floor of the living room, and crawls up until they are face to face "oh my darling, my darling", the patient whispers.... "it is you" and with that she smiles.

On another visit, I witnessed the power of the interdisciplinary team.  Sister Joanne delicately began to explain that the journey the patient was now on was one that was moving in a different direction than the past 8 years.  The patient laid in bed, rigid from years of brain inactivity, her wedding picture showing a very different vibrant woman.  Her daughter agonizing over what else she could do to keep her mother in the present.  Terri, the chaplain and I, the social worker, were able to begin to share a very different journey that her mother was approaching and so too, was the daughter.  We  communicated through our eyes and hearts as we gently walked next to this family on their journey home. 

I feel so privileged to have this honor to share my skills with our sister hospice...Hospice Wits and at the same time learn from them about caring compassion at all times and sometimes, in the face of utter poverty.  Love is truly universal.  Joy too is universal....and so is music!  The smiles, laughter, and the hope always overcome the sadness. Let us always remember that we need them all.

Susan Bruno, LCSW.... Suncoast Institute

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