SANTA FE, N.M. — I’ve been in the hospital before; indeed, I got a new left arm this very year! Try not to go to the hospital unless absolutely necessary! In the hospital, they awaken you every two hours, even in the middle of the night out of a deep sleep, to take your temperature and check your blood pressure, and sometimes take blood. In the process, they bump into your bed with their carts and it feels like an earthquake hit tender you. Crash, bang! When you yearn for quiet and rest, they shout out in the hall, and you can’t eat the food … run from the hospital!
So, please leave me at home when it’s time for me to go to heaven. Don’t take me to a hospital and hold me hostage to the IV poked in the top of my bony hand, and connect me to a bunch of wires and monitors, with brisk bureaucrats running through with duties. Ugh! Leave me in peace in my own home!
(Actually, I’ve never met anyone who said, “I want to move over to the hospital when it’s my time to go. I’m looking forward to a sterile, cold, institutional environment with many rules and regulations in which to spend the last moments of my life.”) Nope. It’s just become a cultural habit.
With hospice, you get to stay in your own familiar, nurturing home for the passage from this world to the next. The sweet helper, or caregiver, comes to your house and lends a helping hand in whatever capacity is needed. Makes YOU comfortable! He or she will provide companionship, and assist with meal preparation, physical therapy exercises, grooming and personal care, intimate care, and end-of-life care. For patient and family, it is softer; less anxiety and grief. I’m in!
Coming Home Connection is the hospice care organization begun by a feisty little waif of an Englishwoman named Glenys Carl. A whirlwind blend of Pierrot and haute couture, she is a bundle of energy who founded an entire support community of hundreds of people in Australia to help care for her injured son prior to moving here in 1990 to do the same thing. Now, she ably and lovingly helps care for other people and their families at that confusing and stressful end-of-life phase. Today, she has 50 clients in her care soon to leave this earthly life.
Some towns have hospice centers where the terminally ill are moved toward the end. Glenys yearns for one here in Santa Fe and has set out to raise funds in pursuit of this dream. It makes sense from the caregiver’s point of view – much more efficient to look after a group of patients in one place than run around to different houses. (Oh Lord! It’s sounding strangely like a hospital! Please don’t let that happen, Glenys!) So, the main focus of the Sunday afternoon benefit for Coming Home Connection was to raise funds for her to build a center.
There was major art on the block. Vintage lithographs, an original oil painting by Alexandra Eldridge, an Armand Lara collage and one of those whirling wind sculptures by Mark White on top of a pole.
About 120 devoted and enthusiastic fans of Glenys Carl and of hospice came to the Sunday afternoon event, which raised over $35,000 to get the ball rolling for the Hospice Center, with donations still coming in.
I’m wishing it the best, I even donated; I know a lot of folks will really like it … and I still want to stay in my home.
Ashley Margetson has a BA in English from UCLA, is a senior real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty and has a finger on the pulse of philanthropic activities in Santa Fe. To tell us about an upcoming event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Glenys Carl, Coming Home Connection founder.
Sweet Soleil performs.
Christopher Murphy and Patti Blair.