The weekly meeting included about 9 staff members. Except for me, as Chairperson, all staff had viewing access to on-site traffic.
I noticed everyone’s attention being drawn outside in the direction of the entrance to our Residence for Independent Seniors. As I turned around, I caught the rear end of a taxi slowly passing by the window. Some of the staff waved gaily while Susie (pseudonym) raced out of the meeting.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
One of the staff explained, “Tina (pseudonym) was in the cab. She was in the back seat waving like Queen Elizabeth. She’s coming back from the hospital.”
“In a cab? The hospital is half a block away. Is she okay?” I asked.
“That’s what Susie has gone to find out. Tina was taken to the hospital about an hour ago – in an ambulance – just before you got to the Office,” I was told.
Tina, the matriarch of the complex, was in her mid 90s. Vital, healthy and capable of delivering a good quip if it meant getting what she wanted, it was unusual for her to have had a “false alarm” with an Emergency.
Whenever one of our residents is in need of emergency services, our little village sends out the Ambulance Crew along with a couple of Fire Trucks. This assures the Ambulance Crew that any heavy lifting or awkward positioning can be handled with professional competency and ease with the assistance of the Fire Crew members, most being volunteers. This volunteer base includes the island’s strongest, sturdiest and handsomest men and women. They are our heroes.
Bringing the meeting back to order, it was a mild coincidence that the topic was whether or not our residents were faithfully wearing their Life Line pendents or bracelets. We agreed the staff needed to remind all of the residents to “keep those buttons on”, especially in the shower. We also had to remind residents not to hesitate pushing the button. Typical of their age group, they were consistently worried about being a bother to someone if they did push their buttons.
Susie suddenly slipped back into the meeting and could not stop laughing.
“Okay, share it! What happened?” I asked.
Susie said, “Well, you know how we hound the residents to push their buttons… This morning, when I arrived at Tina’s suite before the Ambulance came, I told her that I was so pleased that she pushed her button. She had abdominal pains and instead of ignoring them, she pushed the button. But she was still all worried about having a big to-do over nothing.”
“I let her know how proud I was that she took action. I assured her that it’s up to the hospital to decide whether or not there is anything wrong. So the Ambulance and Fire crews came and took her away. When I saw her coming back in the cab only an hour later, I wanted to make sure she was okay. When I got to the cab and opened the door, she was all smiles.”
Susie asked Tina how she was doing. “You know,” said Tina, “I finally figured out the secret to life.”
Susie asked her if she was going to share it.
Tina told Susie, “When I get down in the dumps and lonely for some good company, all I have to do is push this damned button. All of a sudden a whole bunch of the best looking guys you ever saw appear. Out of nowhere. And look after my every need.”
When Susie stopped laughing, she asked Tina if her tummy was okay.
“Who cares?” said Tina as she adjusted her walker and scurried to her suite like a fresh filly in springtime.
Dear Guides, would you like to add something to this post?
We are pleased in the knowledge that you enjoyed telling this story. We know that the seniors were very, very important to you. We acknowledge that you occasionally return to a grief state over their absence from your life.
There is a major void in my life without them. I do grieve on occasion. It’s very difficult to not visit with them, but I am being professionally distant to give the new General Manager all the room he needs to establish himself. Perhaps after a year, I will begin to visit with them again.
One of the very important components in your life is an outlet to love. This is highly significant for you and that work gave you a constant source of love opportunities. We will support you when you are ready to undertake other opportunities.
Yes, I’ve been thinking about that. I’ve not resumed Hospice because that is a little more heavy than I need just now. I’ve had to say goodbye to different Residents who I was with over three years. It’s very difficult. I really haven’t given myself much slack in the grief department.
We abide with you. Know that you are loved and when you are ready, you will resume your outlets with our blessing and support.
Thank you. After a very moving memorial service for my friend’s 25 year old daughter the other day, my grief is demanding attention again.
We walk each step with you.