Hospice is about living well.
These inspirational stories from our hospice patients and their families are about hope, caring and going the extra mile to make life the best it can be.
Wendy Bodam was a strong, outgoing, wonderful person who lost her life to ALS on Dec. 2, 2015. During her last months of battle with ALS she was admitted to a local hospital and then transferred to Hospice of the Valley's palliative care unit in Surprise Arizona. It was the right choice! The folks there kept her as comfortable as they could, assisting me in this terrible fight on her last days. They made Wendy's last days on earth better than I could imagine. She is in God’s hands now, but the folks at Hospice of the Valley led her to the light. I thank you so much with all my heart. --Jay Bodam
Lifelong biker Andy “Butch’’ Bobbett had a simple wish: To take a ride on the open road. Hospice of the Valley staff and volunteers pulled together and made that happen on a sunny Sunday afternoon, complete with a borrowed motorcycle and sidecar for Bobbett.
He spent about 45 minutes cruising through the Valley and around Tempe Town Lake, surrounded by family. Bobbett, a patient at Friendship Village PCU, died shortly after. “When he came back, he had big smile on his face and both thumbs up,’’ said his widow Linda Hurlbert Bobbett.
The 88-year-old man had a massive stroke after undergoing heart surgery with resulting complications. Nearing end of life, he was non-responsive and on a ventilator at a local hospital. Across the Valley, his wife of more than 50 years was awaiting surgery at another hospital within the same system. She was unaware of the severity of her husband’s condition.
Chaplain Keith Voss at Central is happy to try a little costume magic if that will help make a connection.
Social worker Cathy Jacobson came up with the idea of dressing Keith up like Darth Vader to call upon an ardent Star Wars fan. Keith borrowed the costume and entered the patient’s house with Cathy. “We played the theme from Star Wars on my iPad/BOSE portable speaker. After the song, instead of saying, ‘I am your father,’ I said, ‘I am your chaplain!’”
The elderly man and woman were making the rounds at Gardiner Home – he tall and refined, looking very much like the retired banking executive he is – she wearing a plum sweatshirt embellished with flowers, her face expressionless.
Both 85, they share a common history of growing up during the Great Depression, witnessing the Second World War and subsequent global conflicts, marrying and having families, then retiring to a more leisurely lifestyle.
One of Mary deGuzman’s greatest joys as a social worker is to help others realize their lives are not over because they have signed on to hospice. She recently made that happen for her patient James Rickell, 83. He wanted very much to travel to New York with his wife, Delores, to see Lady Liberty and a bit of the city.
Mary told him about the Dream Foundation and got the trip arranged, but not everything was covered.