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2013-08-01 digital edition

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2013-08-01 / Church

THEY SAID IT

Life Lessons from Hospice Patients

“Something Funny is Going On”

“Something funny is going on,” Lorenzo whispered in a frantic, confidential tone from his wheelchair in the middle of the hallway. “Look in those rooms. They’re empty. Where did everybody go? I tell you, something’s fishy!”

Lorenzo suffered from heart disease and several other serious health issues. His family took shifts in caring for him at home. Fatigue had set in and they needed a break, so Lorenzo went to a nursing facility for several days.

Lorenzo was somewhat confused before, but after a night away from familiar surroundings he was delusional and paranoid. Everything became a conspiracy. He saw people from his past, including buddies from the Korean War. He even swore there was a rhino around the corner. “He’s a real monster!” he said.

Lorenzo’s meds didn’t seem to help. His paranoid delusions continued until he went home. After several hours of being in his own room, he relaxed and slept like a baby.

There’s an old saying that familiarity breeds contempt, but it can also be incredibly comforting. On some level, we all long for home.

Change can be good. For example, growth and healing require change. Sometimes we need to be pushed and have our comfort zones challenged. But change is also stressful. Too much of it too quickly can be downright overwhelming. As a rule, the more stress we are under the less change we can take. Life often becomes about the balance of how much change is healthy.

How’s your change level these days? How much familiarity do you need? Are you taking yourself seriously?

Gary Roe is the Chaplain of Southern Care Hospice. Visit him on his website at www.garyroe.com

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