I received a phone call last week Friday, late in the afternoon. It was from Washington D.C. – The American Red Cross, her name was Sheryl. She was calling regarding a new patient of mine – and wanted information regarding his condition and prognosis.
Now, this is weird. Immediately, I’m skeptical – why would the Red Cross in Washington D.C. care about a home patient of mine who lives in the middle of nowhere in Wisconsin? So I start asking lots of questions – – ya know, patient confidentiality and all that.
Sheryl explains further – – this patient of mine has a son who is currently serving in the Armed Forces and stationed in Iraq. He’s been there since the beginning of March and this week, filed for a leave because his father is dying. She wanted my confirmation that this was indeed the case.
So, I answered a few of her questions – – – what this patient’s diagnosis is, other medical complications and that yes, his life expectancy is less than 6 weeks – and he became a Hospice patient of mine on Thursday.
Sheryl said thank you and goodbye. I thought nothing of it.
Until Monday morning . . . .
I walked into L.’s house for my routine visit with him and his wife. He saw me and stretched his hand out to me and began crying. My immediate thought was that he was in pain or was suffering in some way. Then he brought his lips to my hand and kissed it . . .and through his tears, he said “Thank you for bringing my boy home.”
I gave a confused look to his wife, who then explained that his son – who was in Iraq, came home Sunday evening and the Army granted a two-week leave so that he could be with is father and spend time with him before he died.
If his father dies after his son leaves, the Army would not grant a leave for the funeral – – but L. said “I don’t care where he’s at when I’m dead – – I just wanted the chance to see him and say goodbye to him before I die.”
Of course, I did nothing more than answer a few questions to confirm what his son had already told them – nothing special, but I’m very happy for the both of them that he was able to make it work.
Mark this up as the biggest highlight of my week – – and on a Monday morning, no less!