The patient spent her last 10 days of life as a patient at Sycamore and Kettering Medical Centers. She spent her entire life as one of the people who “built me”. I was raised by my grandparents and was blessed to have the patient and her family as my next-door neighbors. Our block was parented by many, but few gave me the smackdown or the build ups that she did. My life was better because she loved me and I’m forever grateful.
I never doubt the care we give at our institution. What I witnessed in her final hours, however, fills me with immense pride to be a part of this organization. Her daughters and I were impressed by every act of kindness extended by physicians, residents, nurses, and an extensive ancillary staff. One person, however, stands out.
The decision was made in the ICU to pursue comfort measures for my loved one after every effort was exhausted. She was transferred to 5 NW and it was there that we encountered Carrie Cain. Kind and efficient, she talked confidently with the patient, her daughters and me, providing the constant compassion and care that indeed provide comfort. When her Pastor arrived and we faced that 48th hour with Carrie busy about the room quietly attending to the many tasks at hand as the ventilator was discontinued. The Pastor began “Amazing Grace” with us trying to contribute. At the end of the first verse, we collectively faltered. Without hesitation, Carrie’s beautiful voice came from behind with such… Amazing Grace… we completed the hymn with her lead through a waterfall of tears. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed such quiet confidence that blanketed an entire room to provide such a sense of peace as in that moment.
My loved one's tenacity in life meant no immediate end. Carrie left her shift that day with hugs and humble words of thanks for our appreciation, verbalizing hope our journey there would soon end. The next morning, she jumped back into her care with the same sense of confidence that eased our pain the day before. She advocated for additional comfort measures and together we were able to face those final moments with her at the bedside. The end just around the corner and without prompt, she picked the perfect moment to offer prayer with such sincerity that there could have been no greater comfort or faith in God’s will. She spoke from the heart, eyes closed, hand in hand, with such passion and purpose that again I was moved to tears. We practice in a faith-based institution. The people, however, bring their faith in us to provide the best of care. The circumstances and passing of life can strain our faith in God. This week, the selfless acts of Carrie Cain restored my belief in the spirit of the Lord and the soul of our organization. May each of us look to Carrie Cain’s example in our daily efforts for our patients and their families.