From the start, this future English teacher and journalist was writing her own story. She was supposed to have been born in Boston, but arrived a month early in New York City. The year was 1930 and her math teacher Dad was taking some classes at Columbia.
Little Nancy would go on to one day have her own column, “Senior Set,” in the Boston Sunday Globe. This ahead-of-her-time columnist has a can-do attitude in life and brings the same to her Hospice story.
“Once a person is born, they need to face the fact that God will call you home. I want to be called home from my home,” says Nancy. This Hanover resident said that she always requested NVNA and Hospice after her “zillion operations and hospitalizations.” When she wanted to improve her quality of life with serious illness, she started palliative care.
Nancy developed a close relationship with Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner at NVNA and Hospice Nicole DePace. The two still have a friendship based on mutual respect and caring. At a recent visit to her home, Nancy shared with Nicole some of her newspaper clippings, stories about her teaching stints and even a brochure from her own public relations consulting business. Home Care is more than just health care; clinicians become intertwined with their patients’ story.
Nancy also showed Nicole a recently-taken photo of her and her college friends. These close friends have been together since their freshman year at Regis in 1948. “Women didn’t have the privileges that we have today. Well, they aren’t privileges, they are rights,” said Nancy. She said to her friends, “At our age, we are not going to play soccer, moral support is better.” It is clear that Nancy focuses on others, practices gratitude and is a very good friend.
Nancy also has a great sense of humor about aging. She calls her walker “Skippy” because she does not want to sound like an “old fogey.” She says she tends not to dwell on the negative, but, instead to dwell on “good friends who bring me flowers and dessert.”
Nancy explains that palliative care is necessary because a lot of people find it hard to go home and try to pick up where they left off [after hospitalization]. They need palliative care in transition to explain what to expect down the road. She says that patients “need caring people like Nicole who understand that this time of life is a big change.”
When it came time to move to Hospice Care, Nancy wished to continue to live comfortably and independently. As a teacher, journalist and intellectual, she wanted to be knowledgeable about her health status changes. “I don’t want sugar-coated. I want bare facts – what the expectations are and what I can be able to do and for how long,” said Nancy. Her nurses oblige and help her continue to live independently in her Hanover home.
Again, she developed a great rapport with her Hospice nurses. “I now have two sweethearts [as my nurses]. I love ‘my’ Jo and ‘my’ Libet. They are wonderful and care enough to make me comfortable right here at home. They show an interest in me as a person, not a number, and do the best they can. I never feel rushed and we share a lot of laughs.” The NVNA and Hospice team also gets a lot of joy out of spending time with Nancy.
When choosing a Hospice provider, Nancy recommends that patients meet with people (health care providers) face-to-face to get opinions on the questions they might have to help make decisions. Hospice brings comfort and “helps [me] accept the fact that six-months from now, most likely, you will not be here, but hopefully leave on a happy note and your friends will miss you,” according to Nancy. “I hope that this inspires people,” she added.
Consider us inspired!