The Memories of a VNA Health Caregiver

Kym Renga, RN

I have been with VNA Health since April 2012 and have to come to love Hospice Nursing. I feel this way because of all of the heartfelt experiences in which I have been involved. Though there are too many to mention here, I remember some that stick out in my memory vividly.

Being called out to a visit
for a young 40-something cancer patient

Apparently, her friends had promised her that when she passed away the party would begin, and she had insisted on being dressed up in a fine gown with a sidelining zipper. Well, the gown was beautiful, but the zipper just would not budge, so we all got on the bed and pinned that zipper the best we could. It was like a wrestling match and all the girlfriends were laughing and crying bittersweet tears. By the time we were done with this sweet young patient she looked so lovely, fresh flowers draped her, and the family was so happy.

Sarah House, Waiting after a death

The staff did what they always do — “there’s nothing to do but put the tea kettle on now” — thus making the family not feel rushed to make any sudden arrangements after a death, and to embrace the silence after the moment, and take it all in.

Hollister Ranch Home

A beautiful retreat with drummers, flowers, and nature intertwined with chanting and peace offerings for a patient and her family. If ever there was a hippy gathering, this was it!

Sitting silently with an elderly woman who had just lost her spouse and did not want the mortuary to come and get him “just yet”. We did not say much, but I held her hand and we spent that time quietly together.

I REMEMBER ALWAYS what it was like to have my own mother die of ALS and how that hospice nurse down in Escondido treated my family with such tenderness. 

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