Patrick C. Keaveny

The Wordy Coder

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Fourth Day – Oct. 22nd


On our fourth trip to Hospice, I wondered if anything would be different than it had been the last few times.

Here’s what happened: Sally and I walked into Dorothy’s room, and she was asleep. One of the nurses woke her up, and she almost immediately said she didn’t want to see anyone…again. I asked her if there was anything we could get her, and she said no. So we left to let her sleep.

I think our coordinator, Marie, is going to assign us to someone else. Dorothy is clearly not getting anything out of our visits, and neither are we. Objectively speaking, no one is gaining anything from our visits.

After we left, I was so frustrated that I decided I wasn’t going to go outside and wait until we left again. Instead, I went into the center living room where residents seemed to gather, and sat there, hoping I could make the most out of this trip.

I didn’t get the chance to talk to anyone, except for Keith.

Keith is a younger-looking guy, and is someone Sally and I have noticed in the weeks we’ve been coming to Hospice. He seems to like being outside among the activity, as opposed to confined to his room, yet looks to be wheelchair-bound.

He just so happened to sit in the same room we were, and after a few minutes, asked the room if anyone could take him to the phone. I looked at Sally, who gestured that I should oblige. So I took the handles on his chair, and after some awkward fiddling with his brakes, wheeled him down the hallway to a phone.

We talked briefly, he told us he was blind and couldn’t see, but that he liked Batman and had seen his nephew visit him earlier that day. He was extremely friendly, more so than other patients at this facility, and I enjoyed talking with him, however brief.

As we left, I said good-bye to him, and was surprised to find that he said, “Nice meeting you Patrick.” A lot of people I meet, whether it’s at networking events, social gatherings, or classes, almost never remember my name until the second or third time I tell them. I was pretty surprised that 1) Keith was so friendly and 2) that he remembered my name.

Of course, I could be embellishing the experience, but for now I’m happy that I at least did something today. Even if it’s just getting a resident to a nearby phone. I’m also glad he remembered my name after our brief encounter; something about that is strangely uplifting, especially considering my frustration at the time.

Our coordinator, Marie, said if Dorothy refused to see us again, we may have to be re-assigned. Not to be bitter, but this might be a good thing. Dorothy doesn’t seem to want to see anyone other than family, and at this point we’ve done nothing for her, so maybe getting re-assigned would be better, though I suppose we’ll have to see what happens next week.