Archive for the ‘blog’ category

I stepped away from wisdom

May 18, 2016

by Jim Young, LDHH-H volunteer

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Volunteer Jim Young

Maybe some of you remember me. But maybe this is the first time you have read anything from this site. The first blog I read from HPCCR brought tears to my eyes, and since then I have cried many times from the words that were written by so many wonderful people – words of honesty, love, and conviction.

Hospice moments are filled with raw and honest emotion. As someone who has stood in those moments countless times, being there can be both rewarding and frustrating. But to be honest, the most frustrating part of hospice for me was the frustration of stepping back – or in my case stepping away from – this wonderful organization.

I volunteered with HPCCR for six years, and in August of last year, my personal plate got rather full. I personally felt I could not commit one hundred percent to a patient assignment, so I stepped away. And in doing so, I stepped away from wisdom.

Wisdom has always inspired my thoughts and my actions, and it was wisdom that always led me to writing about my feelings about hospice. When I left HPCCR, the words left too. This is the first time I have been able to put words to paper, to express the feelings of my heart.

Lately I’ve been feeling that there can be light in death just as in death there can be life.

Allow me to explain. Life in death can mean acceptance to a hopeless outcome, clarity to confusion. Life in death is moving forward, carrying that loved one in your heart.

Light in death is when life simply transitions from a physical presence to a spiritual one. Light in death is finding the peace you are so desperately searching for, the beacon calling you to embrace the joy and the sadness of life meeting death.

I think that is why I’m being called back– to embrace the joy and sadness once again. It was God who led me to HPCCR in the first place, and it is God leading me back there now.

If that isn’t divine wisdom, then tell me what is.

A final message

December 30, 2015

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

thank you 2014As we enter the final days of 2015, HPCCR has an important end-of-year message for all of you.

Thank you.

Because of the support from friends, patients we’ve served, and the loved ones of those patients, we have had a wonderful year.  And just so you know, our definition of a wonderful year is being able to make a difference in our community.

What does that look like?  Well, it means helping patients spend their last days, weeks, and months in comfort.  It means being a supportive resource to frightened family members and exhausted caregivers.  It’s educating families about when the time is right for hospice care to give them the benefit of much-needed additional help.  It’s providing grief support to bereaved family members after their loved one has died.  And it’s offering education to our community about end-of-life planning and other equally important topics.

We did all those things in 2015 and we did them with care, compassion, and integrity.

We thank each and every one of you who talked about hospice care and helped us further our mission of spreading the word.  We thank the families who allowed us into their homes; who gave us the honor of caring for their loved ones at such an important time.  We thank those of you who followed us on Facebook and Twitter, kept up-to-date with the goings-on of our organization, and attended our fundraising events.  And we appreciate all of you who read the inspiring stories on this blog, commented on them, or even shared them.

Bottom line?  End-of-life care is a true blessing.  But it takes people accessing it, talking about it, and learning about it so that it can become a more widespread and understood option.  You helped us do that in 2015 and we know that you will continue to do so in the coming year.  For that you have our sincere gratitude.

Best wishes for a wonderful 2016!

Party time!

March 10, 2015

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

?????????????????????????????????????????It’s time to pull out the paper party hats, turn off all the lights, and fire up some candles!  We’ve got a lot to celebrate this week at HPCCR!  If it were up to me, I would have baked a cake (it’s kind of my thing), but the people in my office would have (lovingly) kicked me out the door and locked it firmly behind them.  (Summer is right around the corner, after all!)

Anyway, on to our celebrations.  On Sunday, Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region turned 37 years old.  That might not be old for us humans, but trust me, for a hospice organization, 37 years puts you in the class of “seasoned”, to say the least.

Also, on this very day five years ago (my, how time has flown!) I published the very first post on our blog, Hospice Matters.  Five years.  I actually can’t believe it.

First let’s talk about HPCCR.  We became an organization on March 8, 1978.  But we didn’t take our first patient until November of 1979.  And then we took eight more that year, bringing our total to a whopping count of nine.  Ok, let’s compare.  In 2014, we admitted over 3,000 hospice patients and somewhere between 1,000 to 2,000 palliative patients.  That’s some serious growth, folks.  In fact, since that first patient was admitted back in 1979, our total hospice admissions to date (through December 2014) is over 40,000 patients.  Not to mention the fact that we have grown from serving just Mecklenburg County in NC to now serving 11 counties in North and South Carolina.   That’s just outstanding.  It means that we have touched the lives of over 40,000 families in our large region, showing compassion and exquisite care to each and every one.  Every person in this organization factors into this equation.  Because, ultimately, we are all in it for the same reason.  To make end of life honorable, peaceful, and beautiful.

On to the blog.  I am very proud to say that during the five years that this blog has been published, not one week has gone without a post.  Not one.  This post, in fact, will be our 356th.  Our readership continues to increase as our social media presence grows and, as this blog habitually goes out on Facebook and Twitter, the reach of our blog is several thousand people each week.  Upshot?  Several thousand people know just a little bit more about end-of-life care than they did the week before.  Hospice Matters is a virtual stage with which we educate our community and where we demonstrate the impact of hospice care on real people who have benefited from our services.  These stories honestly write themselves; they are always emotional, sometimes uplifting, occasionally heartbreaking, but always worth reading.  They reflect the very heart of what we do and I am overwhelmingly honored to (so often) be their conduit to the “outside” world.

So in honor of these important “birthdays”, I am going to close my eyes and make a wish.  A wish that hospice care becomes the preferred choice at life’s end, that the fear surrounding death be relinquished, and that our enthusiasm for life continues until the very last beat of our hearts.

Of course, you can’t make a wish without cake. . . .

A final message of thanks

December 29, 2014

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

thank you 2014As we enter the final days of 2014, HPCCR has an important end-of-year message for all of you.

Thank you.

Because of the support from friends, patients we’ve served, and the loved ones of those patients, we have had a wonderful year.  And just so you know, our definition of a wonderful year is being able to make a difference in our community.

What does that look like?  Well, it means helping patients spend their last days, weeks, and months in comfort.  It means being a supportive resource to frightened family members and exhausted caregivers.  It’s educating families about when the time is right for hospice care to give them the benefit of much-needed additional help.  It’s providing grief support to bereaved family members after their loved one has died.  And it’s offering education to our community about end-of-life planning and other equally important topics.

We did all those things in 2014 and we did them with care, compassion, and integrity.

We thank each and every one of you who talked about hospice care and helped us further our mission of spreading the word.  We thank the families who allowed us into their homes; who gave us the honor of caring for their loved ones at such an important time.  We thank those of you who followed us on Facebook and Twitter and kept up-to-date with the goings-on of our organization.  And we appreciate all of you who read the inspiring stories on this blog, commented on them, or even shared them.

Bottom line?  End-of-life care is a true blessing.  But it takes people accessing it, talking about it, and learning about it so that it can become a more widespread and understood option.  You helped us do that in 2014 and we know that you will continue to do so in the coming year.  For that you have our sincere gratitude.

Best wishes for a wonderful 2015!

Chanel No. 5

October 8, 2014

by Phyllis Zellmer, HPCCR patient

Chanel No 5There are certain chemo drugs that prevent a patient from using fragrant lotions.  I’ve learned all about the non-fragrant products and decided to lend my considerable consumer influence to champion Aveeno.  This product is great for those undergoing any type of medical treatment that has you scouring the aisles of Rite Aid while scratching your back, butt, and legs at the same time.  You will not look like Jennifer Aniston after two-weeks usage but your skin will repair itself.

All this being said was not to minimize how much a woman desires her fragrant lotions.  My son exclaimed, “My God, Mom has her own Bath & Body Works store in this drawer!  And there is more upstairs.”  Nonsense.  I only buy some of my favorites products online during their closeout sales.

It is just awful to have a favorite signature fragrance, like Clean Cotton, only to wake up one day and discover the marketing department of Bath & Body Works has decided to slightly change the formula to appeal to a wider audience.  This really translated into “not to just old ladies.” So the newer fragrance became Sea Island Cotton.  I even checked out the ingredients to make sure this savvy consumer was not being ripped off.

During my third year of chemo, my friend, who I call the “Elizabeth Taylor Look-Alike”, gave me a bottle of Channel No. 5 lotion.  Oh my gosh, one sniff of that fragrance and it was as if the Sea Islands had fallen to the bottom of the ocean.

Unfortunately, I was on Gemzar which meant I could use only non-fragrant lotions, avoid sun, yada, yada, yada.  I dutifully did all the right things while the pink bottle of Channel stood haugh­tily in the fancy storage caddy next to my tub. Every month or so, the dust would get wiped off the black cap and I’d think, “Could I use that now?” Then those nasty side effects would appear just from trying Sea Island Cotton again, so my Channel went back to collecting dust.

One of the things that hospice does is provide help for every conceivable comfort that can be reasonably managed.  This includes sending out a CNA to help with bathing if needed.  Sorry to say, that little issue had to be addressed our first hospice week because I was just too weak to stand and wash my own back.  You hate it, but what are you gonna do?  The Lord has sent you some support, so are you going to say, “Nay Lord. I think that I’ll just pass out in the shower and stink for the rest of the day?”

Today when Janee, my CNA, came to help me with my toiletry, things got very aromatic around here.  I have been so nauseous for two days.  In this condition, you get weak and weaker as the malady literally drains you.  Of course, there is a shower seat inside our ample new bathroom but it does not prevent you from falling off the “half-moon” if you are not holding onto something besides a scrubby.  After shower time was over, the drying-off phase of “the lady’s toilet” started.

During the towelling-off time, I sit on a stool and behave like a baby.  I get dried from head to toe before I am allowed to stand.  No matter that Janee could slip and fall in the water we’ve splashed onto the floor, but I digress.  When the patting dry began, I looked over at the basket holding all of the fine toiletries a lady could ever want.  Janee and I eyed that little pink bottle at the same time.

“Miss Phyllis, what do you want to smell like today?” is barely out of her mouth before I lift the dust-covered bottle and ask her opinion of Chanel No. 5.  “Elizabeth Taylor Look-Alike” would have been proud to hear of Janee’s endorsement of this elite fragrance.

Janee dusted off that bottle and started smoothing lotion on my back and arms, and then took a break to gather crushed ice for the nausea, but nothing stopped us from getting that lotion rubbed in from my head to toes.

Our bathroom smelled like a salon and the fragrance followed me as I hiked from the bathroom to the screened porch where I spent the rest of the day admiring how nice I smelled, despite filling up a couple of barf bags.

Isn’t the Lord grand?  It was an absolutely beautiful day.  The Chanel did not camouflage the reality of nausea, but it just did not seem to be as awful as it could have been.

We need you

August 19, 2014

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

ABCaresYou like this blog, right?  We offer heartwarming, good-for-the-soul stories on a weekly basis, don’t we?  Plus, we throw in some funny from time to time too.  And we do this over and over again, week after week, asking for nothing in return.

Until now.

Now we need your help.  Our very own Levine & Dickson Hospice House – Huntersville has been nominated for Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group’s community outreach program – ABCares.  This means that we have the chance to have $2,500 donated to our organization.  I repeat — $2,500.  But here’s where your part comes in; the amount of money we receive depends on the number of votes we get between now and Friday, August 29th at noon.  Votes from you.

Here’s what you can do:

  • You can vote every single day at http://www.atlanticbay.com/ABCares/ (click the ABCares Tab to vote) or at on their webpage.  (If you access the Facebook page, you’ll need to “like” the page before you can vote.)
  • Send this link to your family and friends so they too can vote daily for LDHH-H.
  • Post on all your social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc) with the #ABCares and the voting link www.facebook.com/atlanticbay and/or www.atlanticbay.com/ABCares.

The winner will be announced at the end of the day on Friday, August 29th.  We will be on pins and needles until that time, hoping that our votes and your votes are enough to put us at the top.

Folks, with your help, I think we have a really good shot at winning.  But we’ve got some serious work to do.  There are four other very worthy organizations vying for the money and so far, most of them have more votes than we do.  You can change that.  Go out and vote!  Every day!  Plus, you can vote with your smart phone separately from your computer, meaning that you can technically vote TWICE a day.  Do it.

I’d say we owe you one, but after all the awesome content you’ve enjoyed here over the past few years, wouldn’t you say we’re even?

Seriously, thank you for your help.  Let’s do this.

 

 

Milestones

March 12, 2014

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

36th anniversaryWe are patting ourselves on the back here at HPCCR.  Why you ask?  Well, because we reached a couple of milestones over the past week and we’re pretty proud.

On Saturday, March 8, we marked our 36th year of providing end-of-life care in the Charlotte region.  President and CEO Pete Brunnick pretty much sums it up, “For some of us, that seems pretty young, but what an ever-changing and dynamic life our organization has had.  To think that just 36 years ago we were literally a ‘church basement organization’ and to see what we are today really is amazing.  I have always emphasized that we are not good just because we are big.  Rather, our patients and their families choose us because of our excellence in care and our commitment to always put them first.”  Yep, we have honed our skills over the years and we know what we’re doing.  You can plan on us being around a LONG time!

On Monday, March 10, we marked the 4th year of this very blog, Hospice Matters.  I can’t tell you how gratifying it’s been to see readership grow, to see the effect our stories have on those of you who tune in week after week.  Since we started this blog, we’ve posted over 300 times and we’ve not missed a single week!  You know what that means?  It means that we’re not just dedicated to our patients and families, we are also dedicated to YOU, loyal readers!

We would be remiss if we did not thank everyone who supports this organization and what we do.  Without you, we would most certainly not be celebrating these milestones.  And for that, you have our sincere appreciation.  So I guess you can give yourselves pats on the back as well (on our behalf).  And maybe go get a cupcake.  We won’t tell.