Compassion to Last a Lifetime
We had an older gentleman admitted overnight. When I came on in the morning as a supervisor, the nurses in the unit told me that he was to have a fiftieth wedding anniversary party with his family that night. He wasn’t well and we knew he wouldn’t be able to attend. As a matter of fact, his condition was poor and he would be blessed if he left the hospital alive.
The wheels started to churn in my creative brain. I asked the staff to call the dietary department and ask for plastic martini looking glasses and a cake usually reserved for birthdays. I thought that we could have some celebration ready for the family when they came in to visit.
Making a “Happy 50th Anniversary” banner from computer paper and markers, we hung it above his bed. We borrowed a Polaroid camera from the security department and waited. When the family came in, we waived the two visitor rule and the family gathered around the bed. They were impressed that we’d taken the time to make a banner, but could hardly hold back the tears when we brought the cake and ginger ale in glasses for their impromptu party. Snapping a few pictures of the family around their father and husband finished out gesture of compassion and good will. The family had celebrated the anniversary and had photos of that moment in time.
I wish I could say the man recovered and was able to rejoin his family, but it was not to be. He died several days later, but the family had the memories and the pictures to keep.