We the staff of Signature Healthcare do more than provide a room and medical treatment to our patients. We are not just about a paycheck. We do what we do because it is a calling…a calling from God. We are called to give help, hope, and love to the hurting. We are called to help those who can’t help themselves. Every patient we serve is of great significance, from the young person admitted to our inpatient rehabilitation program, to the long-term patient who can no longer communicate or care for themselves. Every day, as we serve our patients, we purposely try to make their world a better place. Even the smallest acts of kindness are important, from giving a cup of water or a sharing a smile between two souls. Our lives matter because our patient’s mind, body, and spirit matter! You will find that Signature Healthcare is different from other care facilities, from the Housekeeper to the CEO. We have made it our purpose to see lives changed for the better. We are on a mission; we are a movement, “A Movement In Defiance Of Suffering.”
Mr. V. was actively passing last Monday and his son and daughter-in-law came in to spend time with him in his final hours. He was not responding to his family and I sensed their frustration in his lack of response to their words. It was then I remembered his son telling me that he and his Dad shared a lot of the same music tastes. So, I mentioned to them that I had his Music & Memory player and a multi-headphone adapter and they could all listen to his favorite music together. They were favorable to the idea so, I got them the necessary equipment. The music was soothing to the family and Mr. V. during this difficult time. As they listened together, I noticed the patient start moving his mouth. He was trying to sing with his son, even though no sound was coming out! The family shed a few tears and began to express their thanks for helping their father make a small last connection with them. “Music and Memory continues to work beautiful little miracles.
Mr. C. had been a long-term resident with us for several years. His dementia had progressed to the point that he no longer spoke or made eye contact with his family. It seemed that even his favorite family members could not invoke any response from him. It is so painful when you see your loved one, but they do not seem to know you’re there anymore.
Here at Clarksville, we are actively reconnecting our dementia patients through personally tailored music. Mr C. entered our program a few weeks ago and he began making eye contact again, yesterday he sang a verse of the “Yellow Rose of Texas” and “What a Friend We have in Jesus” along with his I-Pod. This is a man who hasn’t made a sound in almost two months! The best part of his singing moment, was that his family experienced it with him. For a couple of minutes they were able to have their father and husband back with them! A small victory, some may say…but I’ll take that any day!
Long-term resident, Jeffrey dreamed of riding a motorcycle. We at Signature Healthcare want all of our residents and patients to feel fulfilled. As chaplain I often hear dreams and wishes shared. I heard Jeffrey mention on several occasions that he wanted to, “ride a motorcycle!” Our team and volunteer motorcyclist, Jim Bell jumped at the chance to see his wish fulfilled. It was a fantastic moment which involved a thirty minute motorcycle ride around Montgomery county. When Jeffrey made it back he was smiling from ear to ear! Another dreamed fulfilled!
Some of the other dreams fulfilled in the past: hot air ballon rides, trips to Disney World, area attractions and the mountains.
Chaplain Charles Thornburg
John F. Kennedy shared in 1963 concerning the National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving,
“On that day let us gather in sanctuaries dedicated to worship and in homes blessed by family affection to express our gratitude for the glorious gifts of God; and let us earnestly and humbly pray that He will continue to guide and sustain us in the great unfinished tasks of achieving peace, justice, and understanding among all men and nations and of ending misery and suffering wherever they exist.”
May 1st we gathered together at our Signature Healthcare of Clarksville home along with our special guests, State Representative Joe Pitts and Clarksville City Councilman Bill Summers to show our patriotism and prayerful support of our local community, state, and nation. We also appreciate our community churches and residents who attended. We are all working together to end suffering in our patients, families, nation and around the world. Remember together we can accomplish great and lasting things!
I recently read the following story and was reminded that happiness is a choice! I believe it will speak to you too!
“The 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coifed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.
After waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the curtains that had been hung on her window. “I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.
James 4:14 (NLT)
“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.”
We spin around the sun on this big blue ball at just over 67,000 miles per hour. Now that is fast! Everything about this life is fast; fast food, fast oil changes, fast cars, fast-acting medicines, fast internet, fast trains, and fast planes. Rush, rush, rush is the beat of our life. I don’t want today’s blog to sound negative. I want it to be a reminder to make every day count. James 4:14 speaks to the temporariness of our lives. We really aren’t promised tomorrow. We only have today. I was made to realize again, how quickly my life could have ended yesterday on the way to work. My truck began to spin out of control on a sheet of ice. I had about 15 seconds to pray for help. Thank God he answered my quick prayer! I missed every hazard and came to rest in a ditch, unscathed. I quickly assessed my vehicle and then drove out of the ditch. It could have been a very different ending. It reminded me again that as we rush along in this journey that we must make every day count. Make sure your friends and family know how much you care. Leave a legacy of good things. You never know when this fast life will be over. I hope you will make the best of your time.
The last couple of weeks have been difficult for me. Some of the people who have really touched my life in special ways, moved on from their sojurn on this earth.
I am a professional chaplain and I deal with sickness and death on a much too regular basis. I attend many funerals and try to comfort those who are mourning. I will honestly admit that sometimes a certain amount of professional training and experience insulate me from the inevitable passing of a resident. Yet, I often pray to God that the passing of a soul never becomes routine to me. That is a prayer that was answered again, multiple times, through the passing of several residents in our facility.
I am so thankful for all of my fellow ministers, especially those who are pastors far away from home. Many lay people never understand the sacrifices you and your families make as you minister. Many think you have an easy life and even joke about you only working one day a week. Remember God sees the late night intercession, time apart from family, the stress, the struggle, rejections, and an endless list of things pastors/ministers deal with on a daily basis. Yes, some of our greatest joys come in ministry. Also, some our greatest griefs. Just remember God has called you to be faithful in ministry, not necessarily “successful” and remember, “God keeps good books.” If no one besides me says “Thank You” this Clergy appreciation Month, remember the one who died for you and me says, “Thank you, well done thy good and faithful servant!”
I love you all! Keep the faith!