Friday, December 24, 2004

She is 77 years old, living with breast cancer that has recently spread to her bones. She is originally from North Carolina, was a patient at the prestigious Duke University. Her husband, unable to take care of her due to his own significant health issues, moved her to Virginia, specifically, Southside Richmond, to live with her son and her grandchildren. Her son works the swing shift for not much money. Along with the cancer, she has diabetes. Although she is able to take insulin everyday, she is still very concerned about taking her blood sugar daily. Her blood sugar monitor was lost in the move from North Carolina, and they were told her insurance would not cover a replacement. Money is tight, and the family has delayed buying her a new one (estimated price $50) because they simply cannot afford it. She lets me know this each time I come to visit her. She is my patient.

Sandy, my boss, called me the other day when I was out in the field. She has a friend at a local home care supply company, and we've been able to track down a free blood sugar monitor (also known as a glucometer), and it can be covered by her Medicare. Also, the home care supply company will take her information and follow up with her to get her the rest of the supplies she needs for diabetes, things we as Hospice will not be able to cover, for absolutely free of charge.

Yesterday I went to visit her before the holidays, to fill up her pill box and make sure she had everything she needs, also, to give her the gift she has been waiting for, something that could help save her from dangerous complications, so that she can focus on spending the limited time she has left on this Earth with her family. I couldn't wait to show her that she had a new glucometer, and to tell her the good news that she no longer has to worry about such small things as test strips and insulin needles. At the end of my visit, she takes my hand, and presses it to her cheek, and tells me, "Merry Christmas. I'm so glad you came here to see me today."

As I leave, I have to ask myself, "now, who really gave a gift to whom?" And I smile.

Happy Holidays, Everyone!
Jenn and FiFi

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