Dance With Me
“To dance is to reach for a word that doesn't exist, to sing the heartsong of a thousand generations, to feel the meaning of a moment in time.” - Beth Jones
“What can I do for you right now? How can I make you comfortable? Addressing immediate needs of the patient and family and learning what is most important to them is the mission of the Arbor Hospice.
“When patients are in pain, I can’t begin to address other needs until their pain is brought under control,” explained Arbor Hospice Admission Nurse Andrea Vukmirovich.“When I arrived at this patient’s home, I knew I was walking into a situation where he was in excruciating pain. Prior to my visit, one of our staff members met with the family to explain our care and complete the necessary admission paperwork. She noticed how much pain the man was in and immediately called for a nurse.”
When she arrived, Andrea found a 65-year-old man with prostate cancer lying in the fetal position moaning in pain. His pain was a ten on a ten-point scale.
Andrea educated the man’s wife and daughter on his condition and taught them how to administer pain medication through his pump. The patient’s wife told Andrea how much of a relief it was to have support with the medication, and the ability to provide relief quickly.
“Not long after we gave the pain medication, we could tell the man was beginning to feel better,” Andrea said. He wasn’t coiled up, and he even got out of bed and began moving around. He tried lifting things and moving in ways that had been causing pain in the days prior. After his own tests, he turned to me and said his pain was now at a five. It was great to see such improvement, but I told him we can do better.”
Under Andrea’s guidance, the wife increased her husband’s dose of pain medication. And once again, the man put himself through a series of tests to rate his pain. This time, the man lifted a chair and his eyes glowed.
“My pain is completely gone,” he said. As he said those words, the man grabbed his wife’s hands and began slow dancing around the room. As her parents danced, their daughter filmed the incredible moments, for it was only a couple of hours ago that her father lay bedridden in pain – like he had for several days.
“The man then went to everyone in the house and gave them hugs,” Andrea said. When he got to me he held on extra tight and said thank you, thank you, thank you. I had goose bumps; there was so much love in that home.”
When Andrea left the patient’s home, she left with confidence that the Arbor Hospice team would visit the patient and his family the next day and continue to provide the care, comfort and relief they deserved. Two days later, the man died peacefully at home after one last dance with his wife.
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