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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Final Visits: First Visit

A few months ago I made you aware that there would be upcoming postings on what I have titled Final Visits with patients in a hospice program. Today was Gopher’s first final visit.

Gopher and I were both excited to get started, Gopher perhaps a little too excited. The person, who shadowed me today to ensure we were a good team for this work, did compliment me on the control I had of Gopher in spite of his enthusiasm.

The person we visited was older and her mind had begun to drift in her later years. There was very little communication and our conversation was one-sided. She was able to smile though, and oh boy did she smile when she saw Gopher. She had been just helped into bed our visit was going to be short, but no less worthwhile. Assisted by the experienced handler in the room we moved a stool closer to the bed so that Gopher could be more readily visible. Being a little too anxious to help and being the intrepid pup he is, with a strong desire to cuddle thought at first this was an invitation into the bed. Fortunately I caught him in time and was able to keep her from getting an unwanted Golden blanket.

Her hand was frail, but with her permission I assisted in putting her hand on Gopher’s arm so she could feel his fur. Ever so slightly her small hand made movements as she tried to use what strength she had to pet him. Gopher knew this was the special moment and remained perfectly still why she attempted to run her fingers over his golden fur. Her respiration began to slow, and she began to drift off to sleep. We said our good byes, and went on our way, telling her we would be back which left a smile on her face. It was a great way to spend a cold Saturday morning. Thank you Gopher.

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