Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Helping an Elderly man who was feeling scared and alone.

(from an online AMH 2020 student) (PS - tell Amy she's awesome!)

At the start of this class when we were presented with out secret mission I had so many great ideas in mind. I had so many things I wished to do and I felt it was going to be impossible to narrow it down. After a lot of contemplation my decision became very clear when I met and got close to someone who is now very special to me. 
At the start of my summer, my older brother had introduced me to his new girlfriend. To be honest I didn’t particularly care for her at first. Although I should know better than to judge a book by it’s cover considering I have had to overcome that exact thing my entire life. After my mother and I took a vacation with the two of them, I had a newfound love and respect for my brother’s girlfriend Amy. We really connected after that. 
As the weeks went on Amy and I got a lot closer. She is a nurse at a hospital that is about an hour from where I live. The hospital is in a very poor and rural country town. My favorite thing to talk with her about became stories from her work. Amy is very much like myself in that she likes to find humor in every day life and also that she connects with people easily. She always had either a really funny story to tell me, or one that really pulled at my heartstrings. At this specific hospital many of the patients struggle a lot. Because of its rural location, many of the people that visit are people with no health insurance, elderly, people with psychological illnesses, and elderly men who are veterans.
One story she told me that really affected me was about an older man (lets call him Bob), who was very ill. Bob was a war veteran and he was so ill he did not have much time to live. Amy would tell me how mean he was to everyone, even herself, but she got along with him really well because he said she reminded him of his family.
 She explained that he was just very scared of death and had nobody in his family that would talk to him about it. He never got any visitors, except my sweet Amy.
Amy also talked about this very special couple that were currently at the hospital. The wife was very ill and had been in the hospital for months. Her husband has stayed by her side for the entire time she has been in the hospital. He only ever leaves the room to get coffee and that is the furthest he goes. His family brings him clothes and he sleeps in a recliner every night. The love this couple shares is so strong.
I could go on and on telling stories Amy has shared with me about her work. I was really shocked to hear about all of these people’s struggles with poverty despite them not being that far from where I live. Another reason why I connected with this is because I am very close with my grandparents and I never want them to feel lonely or forgotten. All of the stories Amy shared with me about all of the elderly who came in feeling this way really bothered me. 
She even shared with me that some elderly people try and get admitted just to get some care and attention. I have been ill and in the hospital many times and I know how special it is to know someone cares. Another thing I have learned in life is it’s the little things that really matter, and that’s what sparked my inspiration for my secret mission.
I started by writing a card for Bob. (The elderly man who was feeling very scared and alone) I really felt bad for him. I wrote a long letter on a sympathy card and bought a big box of chocolates and sent Amy off to work with them to deliver to Bob. I then started to think of all the others in the hospital who could use some kind words. Me, being the way that I am, could not stop there. 
The next day I went to the drugstore and bought 10 99-cent get well cards. I wrote individual notes on each card. I wrote things such as, “I hope this brightens your day”, and “Just wanted to let you know that I care about you and am sorry for what you are going through”. I love inspirational quotes so I made sure to fill the cards with those. I sealed each card and sent Amy on her way to deliver them personally to all of the patients whose stories she had shared with me.
I know how uplifting it can be to know someone cares or to have a little pick me up on a bad week. Even though these people don’t know me I know that it will bring a smile to their face. I know this is a very small thing but it’s hard for me to explain on paper how different this area is from where I live. I was really moved by the sad stories Amy came home with every week.
Hearing about all of these people has certainly made me grateful for my health and even more so for my family. I am very blessed to have the support I have. Most of the people Amy would tell me about had no support or love of a family as I do. I really respect all of those Amy works with, it takes some loving people to motivate and support these patients daily and I really respect Amy for that.
Lastly, I learned not to judge someone prematurely. I came to a conclusion before I got to know Amy and now she is very close to me. She brought theses stories in to my life and helped me to realize what my secret mission would be. This experience, because of Amy, has made me a better person. I will for sure keep helping those in the hospital and I hope to come up with more things I can do for the people who are there.