The New Job
Well, so far so good with the new job. I REALLY enjoy it. For those just catching up here, I recently joined up with the Visiting Nurse Association administering physical therapy to patients in their home. My “territory” is Adams County, PA. For those of you who don’t live around south-central PA, Adams County is a beautiful place. It’s home to Gettysburg, acres and acres of national military park land, multiple small historic towns, and miles and miles of orchard land. This time of year the peach trees are in full blossom and to see a hillside covered with pink flowering trees is breathtaking.
This is what I get to drive around in all day. Awesome.
But the job is heartbreaking too. There are a lot of sad and hopeless stories out there. I’ve almost been brought to tears a couple times already.
Yesterday, I arrived at a house for a co-visit with another therapist. We were to see an elderly man for debility and falls prevention. When I arrived I learned he had already fallen two times that day and had a huge hematoma on his thigh. His doctor wanted him to go to the emergency room and have it checked out. So an ambulance was called to transport him.
While we waited, his wife got his coat and started helping him get it on. Then she started crying. To see an eighty-something woman crying broke my heart but what she said next just crushed it. Through her tears and struggle to dam the sobs, she said, “We’ve been married 67 years. I don’t want to lose him.” She knew what we knew: he was headed for a nursing home where he would most likely spend his remaining years.
Then, while the paramedics attended to her husband, she started crying again. I could see the pain on her face, the fear in her eyes, so I tried to console her some, but what do you say when a wife of 67 years, a true soul mate, says, “I’m just so afraid he’s going to die.”
I tried my best but there’s only so much to say at a time like that. Unfortunately, I’ll probably never see her again. That’s the downer about the job.
I don’t know if over time I’ll become more calloused to the plight of others or more sensitive to it. I hope and pray the latter.