After devoting her life to caring for others, her mother deserved special treatment in her final years. But where would they find just the right caregiver?
We needed to find a nurse to help care for my mother, Mary Pittman. And not just any nurse. Mother had been an RN herself. The world’s best, people said. She worked for Dr. Zdanis until she was almost 80 years old. She practically ran that office. She was the best caregiver I’d ever known. She could soothe a crying child or calm a worried parent. Everyone felt better after she was done with them. And that was even before they saw the doctor.
But then she got Parkinson’s disease and had to retire. Now she was the one who needed to be taken care of. My brother Pat moved in with her. They had a few good years together. But Mother got so bad we had to put her into a nursing home.
The facility we chose had an excellent reputation. The staff treated Mother with great compassion. Still, she wasn’t happy there. She never told us so, but it was obvious. All she wanted was to go back to her own home. That’s what my brother thought would be best too.
So we made arrangements with the hospice people and took Mother back home. Pat and I worried about who they would send to care for her. Not that she would ever complain, mind you. But the best nurse in the world certainly deserved the best nursing care in her final days, and that’s what my brother and I hoped and prayed for: a nurse who would care for Mother the way she had cared for others.
The first day a beautiful young woman with a big, confident smile showed up. The first thing she asked Mother was, “Didn’t you used to work for Dr. Zdanis?”
“I certainly did,” Mother said. “Until I was almost eighty.” Even in her weakened state you could still hear the pride in her voice.
“I recognized the name in your file,” she said. “And now that I’m here, there’s no doubt. You see, when I was a little girl, you took care of me. I always loved and admired you,” she told Mother, taking her hand. “In fact, you’re one of the main reasons I became a nurse.”
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