Jan – Alice in Wonderland

After I have been with my patients for some time we know each other very well. I do all I can to lift their spirit as well as listen to their cares and worries. We usually talk first about what might be troubling them and then they often ask “What have you been up to?” I let them into my life and tell them what I have been doing lately. I have been learning a new way of painting with ink and took my patient a small drawing to show her. Or I may have had a trip somewhere, or a visit or I have joined a different group and I like to discuss the different things I have been doing. I might talk about a discussion I had in a discussion group I belong to. I aim to give my patients interesting things to think about when I leave.

One patient was admitted to Calvary and was quite unwell. However I had asked what were her favourite cakes. I bought some and decided to give her a tea party. I filled a basket with Shelley china teacups saucers and plates, and (chuckle) a candelabra and candles, a small supper cloth and I bought some take away coffee from the café downstairs. I went up, set the table on the bedside table, poured our coffee and we ate our cakes. She looked on in wonder as we used the pretty serviettes. I couldn’t light the candles, but the table looked lovely and we ate cake, sipped coffee and enjoyed our time together. She said she felt like Alice in Wonderland. I had also bought a ridiculous necklace for both of us. It was really over the top bling that was cheap as chips and inappropriate except for the fun we were having.

I couldn’t light the candles, but the table looked lovely and we ate cake, sipped coffee and enjoyed our time together. She said she felt like Alice in Wonderland.

The next week when I called she was in a coma and died quite soon after. But for that quarter of an hour or so, she wasn’t sick, she wasn’t a patient, she was a woman who was being feted for the wonderful woman she was.

Jan McCready is a volunteer at Calvary Health Care Kogarah.

 

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