A last trip to the woods

Evergreen Hospice Volunteers Facebook page

A story circulating thanks to a post on a Washington state hospice’s Facebook page is so sweet that one wonders why they waited three months to tell it. No matter. We’re not so overwhelmed with these sorts of tales that we can turn up our nose at three-month-old stories.

Ed, who lived in an adult family home, had not been outside for several years – as a result of his illness and the difficulty in transporting him. His wish, which he shared with EvergreenHealth Hospice Chaplain Curt Huber, was to go outdoors. When he was healthy, Ed had been a forest ranger, and at that time, he said, he had lived for the outdoors.

When Curt learned of Ed’s wish, he brought it to the attention of the Hospice team, one of whom suggested getting in touch with a local fire department that might agree to transport Ed for this final visit to the outdoors. Curt contacted the Snohomish County Fire District in Edmonds, whose staff was happy to help.

In March, Curt and the RN Case Manager, Leigh Gardner, accompanied Ed and several members of the Snohomish County Fire District on an outing to Meadowdale Beach Park in Edmonds. Ed was picked up and transported in the EMS vehicle; other members of the fire department traveled in a fire truck.

Together, the group took Ed up and down the trails, bringing him the scents of the forest by touching the fragrant growth and bringing their hands close to Ed’s face.

Ed was delighted. So were all the professionals who accompanied him.

People sometimes think that working in hospice care is depressing. This story, submitted by North Team Program Manager Diane Fiumara, BSN, demonstrates the depths of the rewards that caring for the dying can bring. She says, “I want to thank my fantastic North Team for their love and dedication to the patients they serve.”

The man’s daughter added:

Because of hospice Daddy was granted his final wish. Although the moment he emerged from the ambulance I knew he was in the final minutes on this earth, as they transported him up the walk, he passed beneath his beloved trees. The gurney brushed by his herbs and they released a fragrance so wonderful. When he was finally in our home, he said goodbye to his girl of over 60 years. I keep the hospice business card in my bible. They are in my prayers.