For the past few months I’ve been considering becoming a hospice volunteer. Ever since I read a book on compassion it has been in my brain. I’ll be going about my business and the thought will pop into my head for no apparent reason. The thing is I don’t know that I would be good at it.

I’m pretty shy and quiet. If I was put in a room with someone and told to keep them company for a bit I’d be at a total loss. Even with people I know I just listen to them talk. So I guess if I was paired with a person who likes to talk I’d be fine but if not we’d end up staring at the walls together.

But the volunteer information said that they also need people to run errands or help out around the house. I could do that. I like grocery shopping. So maybe there will be things I could do.

Why hospice? I’m a big supporter of death with dignity. Actually I’m a big supporter of euthanasia too because of my medical training which stressed the importance of quality of life and timely euthanasia. I think that the way we make people die here is cruel. But since that is the way it is here at this time I think people should be comfortable.

As a further sign of how shy and wimpy I am the website said that I had to call to volunteer. I would have sent an email with no problem but having to call stopped me cold. I’ll be by the office today so maybe I’ll just stop in.

One Reply to “Hospice”

  1. I provided hospice care, not as a volunteer but as a medical professional. It’s work that infuses you with a deep respect for people, life, death, and how families and patients cope with end of life issues.

    Mostly what I did was sit and read to the persyn I cared for. If the family didn’t have a book out I would ask for his/her favorite and just read it. Always when I went into the room I would announce my presence “Hi, I’m Nio. I’m here to help change you today. After we wash you up, I’m going to sit and read ___ book.” If they were verbal they would speak back to me and I would ask questions. If they were non-verbal I was deliberate in my movements and the way I touched them so not to startle them “I’m going to pull the sheets down now. I’m going to wash you with warm water. I hope it’s a nice tempature.” and then I would just prattle on about my daily activities or tell them what the weather was in detail. If there were pictures I would just look at them and speak about them “Oh, I see this is a wedding. It looks like it was a fantatic time.”

    Thing is, even if they are non-verbal, they pretty much let you know what they want: silence or not. You can totally feel their spirit and soul in the room which communicate with (at least for me) vibrations. If I was reading something they didn’t like, I could feel the vibrations strongly and knew it needed to be changed. If they liked what I was reading or doing I could feel the contentment.

    It’s a wonderful experience. I would definately call.

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