Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Transforming into an angel

I got out of the car at twilight this morning. Nervous. More used to working with my heart than my hands. I went to help a dying patient with her morning routine and then I was told to help her get back in bed. I think this usually isn't a big deal for most people. In fact, I have a friend who can do this blindfolded with her hands tied behind her back. I usually sit back in awe of her ability to step in and do what is needed. Yes, M_____ you know who you are!!! When I came in the door this lady looked at me with eyes as big as saucers and she was breathing like a little baby bird. She looked at me and said, "You are my social worker. What are you doing here?" I said, don't think of me as your social worker. Today I'm your sister from another ward here to help you start your day. That seemed to help. As we moved through the routine I couldn't help but be amazed by how the body changes when we start the dying process. It's almost like the layers we build up start to dissolve and we become clear in more ways than one. At the end we were both staring into the bathroom mirror while she was brushing her hair. She set the brush down and looked at her hands. "I don't understand why my skin is so transparent and flaky. I don't like it." I looked at her and said, "You are transforming into an angel." As she looked back at me, a smile started to slowly spread across her face. "I like that answer." she said.

These are the moments in my job I live for.