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PruittHealth Hospice Makes Bucket List Reality

Submitted by Mary Purvis

Each year, the Pruitt Health Corporation participates in a challenge among its entities called Committed to Caring.

This year, Pruitt Health Hospice participated in the 2017 Committed to Caring Challenge in partnership with the Second Wind Dreams Organization.  The goal of the Committed to Caring Challenge is to be able to improve the quality of Pruitt Health’s patients that have a life limiting illness and capture new happy memories with these patients.  It is a great honor to be able to pay tribute to the memory of Ms. Linda Rogers.

Bucket lists are only concepts for most, but for Pruitt Health Hospice Cordele, it is a way of life. Our patients become our families and their dreams and wishes become our realities.

It is a privilege to partner with the Second Wind Dreams’ organization in order to help patients check items off their bucket lists.

Linda Rodgers, a patient that was suffering from a life limiting illness had one last thing she wanted to accomplish.  Ms. Linda, a retired judge, was mostly confined to her home.  She confided in her nurse that she had a bucket list.  And, on that bucket list she said that she wanted to go to Callaway Gardens to attend the Fantasy in Lights Christmas Extravaganza.  Her nurse reached out to our volunteer coordinator and Ms. Linda’s dream began to take shape.  Callaway Gardens and its staff showed their commitment to the community by jumping into action and donating four all-inclusive tickets.   It was decided! A trip would be made to Pine Mountain to enjoy the butterfly gardens and the Fantasy in Lights.   

While the trip was all planned, there were many obstacles to overcome.  Ms. Linda battled with weakness and fatigue she deals with from her cancer.  She was accompanied by two registered nurses to ensure that her health was a priority.  She also had her two daughters and her sister with her.

Arrangements were made for a transport chair and oxygen to accompany her to ensure her comfort.  Walking great distances was no longer an option for Ms. Linda, so she was able to enjoy the sites from the comfort of a wheelchair.

Prior to leaving her home in Montezuma, the patient was given a cuddle basket.  The cuddle basket contained a large blanket and scarf as well as snacks for the trip.  Ms. Linda loved her basket and put on her scarf right away and wore it for the trip.

The car ride to Pine mountain was filled with laughter and stories shared by her daughters and sister. The volunteer coordinator and registered nurses felt honored to be able to share in the journey with Ms. Linda and felt like they were part of the family on this special trip.

The first stop of the day was made at the Butterfly gardens.  As a company, the butterfly is of great semblance to us.  The transitioning from the cocoon to that of a butterfly is one of life’s miracles.  The transition is both continuous and unavoidable and symbolizes the emotional and spiritual journey of healing.  The butterfly teaches us to change our way of thinking of not only our loss and despair but to enjoy the celebration of life. What better way to celebrate life than with the trip of a lifetime.

Pine Mountain is a quaint little town which offers a wide variety of options for the average tourist.  As you know, Ms. Linda was no average tourist.

The patient and her family along with our staff were able to enjoy a night out at a local restaurant.   Ms. Linda stated that this was the first time that she went out to eat in many months.  She was able to tolerate a bowl of potato soup and enjoy eating with her family.

The most exciting part of the trip began our journey to see eight million lights.  Ms. Linda was unable to tolerate riding on the trolley as she quickly becomes very cold and was very weak and fatigued, however, a minivan full of excited occupants served as great substitute.

Seven ladies rode in awe through the dancing, twinkling lights and sang Christmas carols together. It was a special time.

We were honored to help Ms. Linda make a new memory with her daughters as well as her sister and honored that they allowed Pruitt Health Hospice to be a small part.