Izzy and I have been busting hump all day, a common occurrence since they've switched dispatchers in our area recently. The new guy is, to be kind, a complete ball-lick. Actually, I take that back. A ball lick, at least is useful or fun to at least one person. This guy is more like a herpes lesion - no fun for anyone. Whatever. Dispatch is dispatch, and you're going to get crapped on eventually. It's just seems like it's been us...every shift.
Anyway, we are paged out for a transfer from a residence to a local hospice. We make our way over and arrive at the residence. I'm a little gun shy. The last hospice transfer I had was form the hospital to the patient's home.
The patient passed on in the back while we were en route. The partner I was working with that day had never had anyone die on her before, and it was an (understandably) emotional time when we arrived at the residence. They didn't understand that the patient was gone, and the granddaughter actually requested to work the patient until his wife managed to come over. She put her hand on her granddaughter's shoulder and pulled her into a gentle hug and said "No baby, its OK. He's gone." They started crying, my partner started crying, etc.
Back to the present, we walk inside where we meet a lady I will call Delores. She's sitting in her bed, in the back bedroom. She's in a hospital bed, with oxygen cannula attached, watching Judge Judy. A recent "Glamour" magazine is sitting on the nightstand.
It's obvious from the start this lady is a card. She looks at me and cocks an eyebrow. "And who is THIS gentleman?", she asks her hospice nurse.
I introduce myself. "I'm March, this is my partner Izzy. We're taking you over to the hospice".
'Lord, I don't even have my face on. Well, OK. Let me get my purse."
We chat and joke for a little while. As it turns out, Delores grew up in the 1960s in London...and she let us know all about the wild parties she attended. She worked as a model before falling in love with one of her photographers and lived allover the world before immigrating to the US and settling in the South, where she and her husband did charity work for a children's hospital and raced hot air balloons. The nurse gives her some pain medication before we leave.
We get her loaded up, and I hop in the driver's seat. "What kind of music do you like, Delores?" I call out through the window.
"Well, I was always a big John Lennon fan." Oh crap. I was hoping she'd give me a genre, not a specific request. I put on the local classic rock station and pray for a miracle. Unfortunately, it's a Fleetwood Mac marathon, and we listen to that as we drive over.
We are getting pretty close to the hospice, and I switch radio stations on a whim, and incredibly...
...I hear the opening melody to "Imagine." Chills run down my spine. I turn my head to the window and wave to get Izzy's attention, and then point at the radio. which I turn up. John Lennon's voice blares beautifully from the speakers. The song ends just as we pull up to the entrance of the hospice.
I pop open the back doors, and Delores has a huge smile on her face. We bring her inside and put her in the other bed. "Light as a ballerina!" I say, a line I caged from Peter Canning's book. She gives us each a hug and tries to tip us, which I decline, saying the pleasure was all mine. She then looks over at the male hospice nurse that has entered. "Oh, lord, two strapping young lads! I had better watch out for my purity!" and we all crack up.
She is still smiling as I walk back to the hallway where Izz is making the stretcher up. Izz tells me apparently, when the song came on , the lady got all excited. It was her favorite song.
We load the stretcher in the back and I put my sunglasses on, still wearing a smile.
I don't want Izz to see that there is something in my eye.