Monday, January 23, 2012

Goodbye, My Friend

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Phone calls have quite a power. In less than a few minutes, a phone call can change your life. It can make you feel excited, upset, glorious, distraught or full of grief.

I got one of those calls tonight. Actually, it started as a text from my friend, Rose, from my last assignment. I had the great fortune of staying there for a whole year, so I connected not only with my co-workers, but also with a number of the residents at the SNF.

Rose texted me a message that concerned me immediately.

How are you doing? Did you hear the sad news at _____ Healthcare? Not sure if you talked to (the DOR) or (the tech)?

(DOR = director of rehab)

I immediately thought about Joan. Oh, no!

Hi, Rose! I haven't heard anything....please tell me.

...Are you sure you are okay with a text?

Okay...then I knew I needed to call her. I just picked up the phone and dialed.

It wasn't Joan. It was Brendon.


I feel crushed. Brendon passed away this morning. I logged out of my documentation on Casamba. I was finished. I could do no more. I needed to go home.

Oh, Brendon...

Many thoughts cross my mind tonight....memories of our interactions, discussions we had, goals he wanted to reach despite his quadriplegia, my hopes for him to lead a full life. Relief that I stopped in to see him last time I drove through the area.

Brendon changed my life. He really did. His case made me think outside the box. He stretched me as a professional. He made me a better patient advocate. He also brought me joy and laughter. He taught me about living gracefully within life's limitations, whatever they may be.

Brendon and I were talking one day last summer, and I asked him where he would go if he could go anywhere in the world. What would he do?

"I would take my mom to Hawaii. I haven't seen her for 3 years."

Granted Wish Foundation didn't grant his wish, despite close consideration of the thick packet I submitted with beautiful letters of recommendation. Brendon never saw the ocean, and he lived his whole 32 years less than an hour from it.

Brendon, here is your ocean. Goodbye, my friend.

Thank you for blessing me with your presence.

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