Celebrating the Good Samaritans
Lisa C. Norton, Communications & Development Manager
January 27, 2023
For nurse Beth Rini, helping Roger* reminded her of why she’s dedicated the last five years to working as a hospice nurse.
“It was more than a powerful, emotional experience. It was the perfect example, the epitome, of hospice work; the concrete answer to the question, ‘Why do we do this?’” Beth said. “We do hard things – and this was hard: physically, mentally, emotionally – because every single one of us deserves respect and dignity, and to feel safe and comfortable when confronting our mortality.”
Beth met Roger while he was living alone in a dilapidated trailer with broken plumbing. His advanced COPD prevented him from being able to walk more than a few steps and he didn’t have a reliable caregiver. Roger wasn’t able to take care of his home or himself. He hadn’t been able to shower in two years.
“I sat with him while he talked about his life, his work, his family, his last two years basically housebound and alone with his TV,” she recalled. “All he really wanted, all he really, truly wanted, was a shower and to get his hair washed… It was his one last goal. I promised him that he would get that at the Care Center.”
Nurse Eric Simpkins had managed to stabilize Roger’s pain and breathing crisis, but he knew he wouldn’t be safe in such a weak state left alone. So Beth stayed with Roger for 15 hours while the team made preparations to move Roger to the Angela Hospice Care Center.
Knowing he would soon be leaving his home, Roger told Beth about the tie-dyed shirt he couldn’t leave behind. It was hanging above his TV.
“I’ve had that since 1969,” he told Beth.
Beth said she would take the shirt with her and wash it, then bring it to him in the Care Center. “There’s no way he’s going to lose that shirt on my watch,” she said.
That night, as Roger arrived at the Care Center, nurse Linda Godfrey was just finishing up her shift. But when she learned it was Roger’s final wish to have a hot shower, she stayed on to help nurse Paula Schrock-Bending bathe Roger.
“That was very rewarding to be able to do that for him,” Linda said, recalling how Roger was “so happy” to be cleaned up and enjoy a hamburger for dinner.
“If you could see his face, it spoke volumes of thanks and appreciation for the care he had gotten,” Paula shared. “We then took him to his room and you would have thought he moved into a mansion.”
The next day, Beth brought Roger’s shirt to the Care Center. He had been sleeping when she came in, but he opened his eyes and she told him his shirt was back.
“I laid the shirt over him and put his hands on it so he could feel the fabric,” Beth said.
Roger died later that day at the Care Center, in the peace and comfort of his room that was funded through the kindness of Good Samaritans: those generous donors who support Angela Hospice’s Good Samaritan Fund. Your compassion enables what is so important to our community, and to our caring team:
“To be able to give these patients a peaceful death at the end of their lives, and give them some quality and dignity, is really the most rewarding…” Linda said.
*Name changed to protect privacy.
You Can Make a Difference
When you give to support Angela Hospice’s Good Samaritan Fund, you are giving a gift that will change someone’s life.
Roger’s story perfectly demonstrates that transformation. He was transformed physically, as he was washed and refreshed. He saw a world of difference in his surroundings, leaving a neglected home for the warm and caring environment of our Care Center. But what is most important, is that Roger went from being alone and forgotten to receiving loving care that honored his humanity. He was shown respect and dignity, making his final days a time of peace and loving care.
THIS IS THE TRANSFORMATION YOU MAKE POSSIBLE.
Roger told nurse Beth that in the two years he was homebound, unable to care for himself, he interacted with the world by watching from behind his window. He would talk to his neighbors, taking note of their comings and goings, wishing them well on their travels, saying “Oh, the kids have come home!” He was isolated inside, but he cared about the wellbeing of his neighbors. Whether they knew it or not, they were his community.
We all have the opportunity to care for our neighbors, whether through prayers, well wishes, or by supporting community programs like the charitable work of Angela Hospice.
To make a gift in support of Angela Hospice’s Good Samaritan Fund to help someone like Roger, please visit here.