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Her Girls

I first met Mary three years ago. Her husband, Ron, contacted me and requested I do an assessment with her in their home. Mary had been diagnosed with diabetes 2, asthma, and emphysema. She was on oxygen 24/7. Ron was working every day in Seattle, and leaving Mary alone all day was something that he was not comfortable with. We decided that CCS would send home care aides to provide services seven days a week, two times a day, in the morning and the afternoon. Mary began to refer to these women as 'her girls.'

As time went on, it was apparent that Mary was failing. She had days when it was questionable how long she would be able to hang on. Her needs became more urgent; she depended on her girls to get her through each day until Ron returned home from work. Her breathing was extremely labored; her personal care needs were constant.

Mary always apologized to her girls when she had an accident. She was embarrassed and did not feel that it was within their job description to clean her up. There were mornings when Mary became anxious before one of her girls arrived. On these days, I would sit with her and we would chat about anything, nothing in particular. In all the time I knew her, she never complained and had nothing but praise for her girls. Without their help, she would not be able to get through the day. She always said to me, "Don't take my girls away," and of course I never did.

Mary cheated death more than once. However, she knew her time was near and that God was calling her home. With the help, compassion, and dedication of her girls, Mary passed away at home with dignity and respect, her husband - her best friend - by her bedside.

-Fran Rankin
 Supervisor, Long Term Care
 Olympia

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