Sunday is a very special day for those of us at Mercy Care. In 2009, Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes declared Aug. 26 “Mercy Care Day.”
Initially, Mercy celebrated this day with staff appreciation cakes and joint events with the Myrtle Beach Chamber After Hours group in the form of a sidewalk fair. But last year, Mercy’s staff suggested we do something for the needy in our communities. Although Mercy staff’s generosity does not surprise me, it gave me such pride that the staff pulled together and used funds budgeted for a staff party to purchase and deliver food and water to the homeless in Myrtle Beach and Little River.
This year, in celebration of Mercy Care Day, I want to share with you just one of the many stories about Mercy staff’s “over and above” actions to make one family’s goal to be home at end of life a reality.
Mercy was given a hospice referral on an indigent man who was in the hospital, dying. He desperately wanted to go home, and his brother, his only family and a bilateral amputee, planned to be his caregiver. The home they referred to was their deceased mother’s mobile home, which had been abandoned for over two years. When Mercy staff arrived, wild animals were the only inhabitants, and in some places holes in floors existed. It had no water or electricity, and no working appliances.
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Mercy’s social worker contacted a local builder who donated enough plywood to allow the brother to fix the floors. He requested funds from Mercy’s indigent funds budget to get water and power back on. He worked with other staff to get the interior cleaned up, and had pest control out to help make the place habitable.
With the delivery of a hospital bed and other medical equipment, Mercy was able to transfer the patient in to his mother’s home. His brother, overwhelmed by this, began to cry and blessed Mercy staff over and over. The patient, unable to speak, would squeeze staff’s hands twice to indicate “thank you.” With his brother as caregiver, the patient lived his last two weeks at home, and died peacefully where he so wanted to be.
The entire hospice team worked so hard to make this possible for these two men. This is just one of many Mercy stories I could share with you. As your hometown, nonprofit hospice, this is where some of your generous donations go: right back to our local patients and their families. We could not do what we do if it wasn’t for the incredible generosity from our communities, and we thank you!
So, as we approach August 26th, please send love and positive energy to the staff members of Mercy Care. You know they will be doing something special for Mercy’s patients and their families, and your communities. I’ll keep you posted.
The writer is executive director of Mercy Care.