Here are some stories of patients whom hospice was able to make happy as their time drew near.
A Gambling Man
Ross had always loved going to Atlantic City, N.J., to gamble with his brothers. He was very sick, but he wanted to go one more time. It was important to him because he associated it with family and fun. So hospice arranged for a van with a mattress, and Ross’s brothers drove him to Atlantic City, where hospice had arranged for a room for him to use for the day in case he wasn’t feeling well. “They had a wonderful time,” says Peggy Durkin. “He was so grateful to have that chance with his brothers. He died two weeks later, and his brothers said they had never thought they’d be able to share that opportunity with Ross before he died.”
Let Me Hear the Music
Since Richard’s cancer treatment and subsequent ill health, he and his wife, Lila, had not been able to enjoy the jazz concerts at the zoo in Racine, Wis. He told the hospice team how he wished they could go to one more jazz concert together, and poof — the hospice team made it happen. Aide Chad Ramintho met the couple at the zoo to assist Richard into the wheelchair and carefully guide him down the slope to an even spot to enjoy the concert. Richard and Lila were thrilled to be there. After the concert, Chad followed them back to their home and settled them in. Despite Richard’s illness, the couple was able to enjoy one last time together listening to their favorite music.
Getting Behind the Wheel
Eric was 21 years old with a rare form of blood cancer from which he was not going to recover. His mother told the hospice team that all this child wanted was a driver’s license. That was all he talked about — when he got well, he was going to get his driver’s license. The hospice team found a very kind magistrate who helped him obtain a driver’s ID, and hospice had it delivered to him. Eric died the next day at peace. “That was the greatest gift you could have given him,” his mother said. Luraine Nuzzo, the hospice nurse, replied, “It wasn’t just for him, it was for you too,” because the truth was that Eric’s mother was greatly comforted in knowing that her child’s wish was granted.
Bring on the Super Bowl
Brad had end-stage sickle cell anemia and was dying. The family was very poor. Hospice had provided a hospital bed for his tiny room, which was so small that it couldn’t hold any other furniture. Brad wanted to sit up in the living room, in the solitary chair, to watch the Super Bowl. Hospice brought him a reclining chair, and the family sat around on the floor as they all watched the Super Bowl together. He called the hospice nurse the next day in tears and said it was the best day he’d had in months. “Just for a few hours I got to be like everyone else.”