It doesn't seem possible that I have been with Midwest CareCenter for nearly 10 years. The service area, team members, pharmacies, DME companies and some staff have changed over the years, but one thing has remained constant—our commitment as nursing professionals to stay educated and to provide quality, compassionate care to our patients, families and communities.
I have been a chaplain for Midwest CareCenter for almost fourteen years and before that I was a volunteer for ten years. My children have grown from toddlers to graduate school and along the way my colleagues have listened to stories as my family grew. In the process, they have become part of my extended family.
Last week, I visited with a man named Tom. His wife is caring for him in their home and needed someone to stay with him while she took her father to his doctor appointment. Since they live in a brand new subdivision, I was unable to Mapquest the route I needed; I had to call for directions. Tom answered, and I explained my dilemma. He quickly responded that I wouldn't find it on Google either! He went on to provide the directions I needed, and I could tell he was going to be quite a character! I spent three hours with a man whose life will be prematurely shortened by cancer; three hours with a man whose body is being ravaged and robbed of vitality; three hours with a man who was absolutely bursting with life!
For me, the joy in my role as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) comes from my interaction with our patients. No day is ever the same. I take great pride in my work and do my best to make each patient feel as if they are the only patient I am caring for that day. I have been a CNA for many years and always strive to create special relationships with patients.
Catholic priest and Midwest CareCenter volunteer, Fr. Dennis Logue, participated in Lake County Honor Flight in June. Midwest CareCenter's We Honor Veterans program partners with Lake County Honor Flight to send veterans to honor their service by sending them on an overnight trip to Washington D.C. to see their war memorials, with priority given to World War II and Korean War vets. Here, Fr. Logue describes his experience:
I've you've never gone on an Honor Flight, you just can't imagine what the trip is like.
I am delighted to be exhibiting my work at Midwest CareCenter. I was inspired to do so by two other artists, one of whom had a sister who was cared for there, another a doctor who used to work with the organization.
As I am sure most of you know, Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and the author of "Lean In," lost her husband in a tragic accident. Since her loss, she has made several online posts including one that talks about Option B, "the stage in which you redefine and reclaim your life after the one you thought you'd have is cruelly
This year's Midwest CareCenter gala honoring Dr. Dennis Murphy was a huge success, matched only by the equally monumental efforts of many volunteers. I know this because for the second year in a row, I have chaired this event with Pam Waud. Early on a Renaissance theme was selected, and it didn't take long for the incredibly creative members of our committee to start working their magic. Banners were flowing, suits of armor were arriving, and madrigal singers and actors in costume were booked.
This hospice, this wonderful, caring, abiding presence in all our days, humbled me in 1979. It continues to do so, even as I express my gratitude to it as a superb caring entity, which is superbly represented by each and every one, a caregiver, directly and indirectly.
In 1979, Paul Wise, a new patient to me, informed me in his initial visit that he had recently lost his wife. Later, after his physical examination, he asked if I knew the name Cicely Saunders. My first thought was, "His wife has just died and already he wants me to know of his new lady friend." But fortunately a second thought came in, Isn't she an English woman? Something about "Hospice" or some such? Care at home at the end of life?
I spent more than a decade focused on a career with GE, specializing in customer service and then finance. My business career even briefly took me from Chicago to Baltimore and Philadelphia, managing an entire sales region on the East Coast.
In the early 1990s, my path led me back to Chicago to start a family and to return to school to pursue a degree in education. But shortly after returning to Chicago, my father suffered a heart attack that led doctors to discover he also had cancer. Instantly, I began helping my mother with caregiving duties and my career change to education was officially on hold.