Well, I wound up going to a funeral w/ my ex-finance (promised her I’d go before we split up) and got a very big shock when we got there…
The man who she has known since childhood, laying there in the coffin, was a man I have transported many many times over the last 6 mos going to and from cancer treatments. To say the least I was blown away. I didn’t think I’d ever go to a funeral for a routine transfer pt, especially one who two months ago, I was given report saying he was doing much better.
To think that a month ago (when I transported him last) we were talking and exchanging stories like we have been for months. Turns out he graduated exactly 70 years before I did, from the exact same high school. I got to hear very cool war stories from his experiences in WWII, got to talk to him about politics, about family, about every topic I could think of. In short he became a friendly face I would see.
All these thoughts just ran through my head at the funeral, and I couldn’t help but shed some tears. My ex thought I was crazy until I told her what was happening. Then she told me that she too had transported him, but thought that the night shifts would never have done that.
I had a chance to talk to the family, and low and behold, the daughter-in-law and son both recognized me on the spot. Might have helped that I was still in uniform from just having come off shift. They told me that he liked our times transporting him because someone finally treated him as more than just an anonymous face. Turns out that he would request my crew specifically. And he said that he was honored that no matter how busy we were, we were always polite and respectful when we showed up for him. And I set a record by transporting him on a day shift 6 times in one day, and each of those was a fun and interesting transport.
I saw him progress from a man that could walk and laugh deeply, to a fragile looking, older gentleman who needed help from the bed to my gurney. He still had that same sparkle in his eye no matter what was going on, and that was there until the very end when I transported him for the last time. I don’t think I will ever forget that face or those eyes. They always seemed to bore into me no matter the topic of discussion.
I knew I would watch people slowly fade away, but for some reason I never thought it would be him. My brother asked me once if I would ever get a normal job (heh!) and I think I know now the reason. If I didn’t work this job, I wouldn’t be feeling this hurt over the situation, but at the same time I never would have been able to comfort and talk to this man in all the time I spent with him in the back of my rig. I never would have learned how he felt when his son married, or when he help his first grand child.
So, no matter what, this kind of reinforces why I love my job so much, no matter how trying it might be.
Yes, I know I rambled, but it’s my blog, so I’m allowed.