Thursday, May 19, 2011
I spent 12 hour days at a Halifax hospital for close to two weeks not long ago, and while I'm not ready to dive into the seriousness of my Mother's illness, I am ready to share one of the nicer memories from that time.
During the time I spent at the hospital I gained a whole new appreciation for nurses and all that is expected of them. Having someone there for the patient most of the time is good for the patient, but not really realistic. They have a job to do, and cannot be expected to be there for one person, all the time.
My Mother was usually in a room with 2 or 3 other patients, and I was there from 8am to 8pm most days. I noticed that some patients didn't have a lot of company most days, so I did my best to help them with little things when I could.
One patient, Ruth Ripley, shared a room with my Mom for just a few days, but left a lasting impression. She was a tiny little thing with a big spirit. She was from Pugwash, NS, that's quite a distance from Halifax, so the time she was there, she didn't have many visitors.
The day after Ruth arrived her grandson came for a visit and brought her a Reese chocolate bar. After he left, she mentioned that she was thankful for his little gift, but it was Reese Peanut Butter Cups that she really loved.
My next trip downstairs to the gift shop I picked up a package of Reese Peanut Butter Cups for Ruth, and everyday after that during her stay. I can still see the surprise and gratitude in her eyes. Such a little gift meant so much to her.
During her stay I helped her with other little things; getting her a drink, fluffing a pillow, helping with her meal tray. Those little things mean a lot to patients when they are in a hospital, and made me even more glad that I went down to spend that time with my Mother, that time was precious to both of us.
The day Ruth was being discharged, her son and daughter came to pick her up and before she left the hospital room to head home she shuffled over to me and presented me with a little gift. A package of pretty flowery napkins she had her daughter bring from home. She thanked me for all my help and I thanked her for the gift and told her I would use them the first time we bbq'd when I got back to Toronto.
I think that package of napkins is going to get opened this coming long weekend and I know I will never again eat another Reese Peanut Butter Cup without thinking about a tiny 94 year old lady named Ruth Ripley.