Hospice Buffalo Patient & Family Stories
Jeanne’s Bucket List - A Story of Living Life to its Fullest
Sunlight shines over Jeanne’s shoulder, beaming across an array of colored pencils while she determines which color will best enhance her artwork. Jeanne is a feisty 84-year-old hospice patient, who was orphaned at a young age. She is thankful for being alive and savors every waking moment by doing things she loves. Diligently, she continues to color – bringing her flowers to life and finding fulfillment in being creative.
Coloring is only one of Jeanne’s many hobbies; she also enjoys sewing and keeping a journal. Just before entering Hospice, Jeanne decided to create a bucket list of things she wanted to accomplish before she passed. In her journal she had written, “Jeanne’s bucket list – I would like to walk in a pair of 6” high heels the girls wear now…they are cool!!” She had never owned high heels and admired her customers who wore them when they shopped at Walmart’s fabric counter, where she worked for over 14 years. She gushed, “I always wanted a pair of stilettos when I was younger!”
Jeanne’s love of sewing and people kept her working at the fabric counter right up until this past March when she suddenly started having difficulty breathing. After a number of hospital and emergency room visits, her family realized she needed constant care. Her physician recommended that they call Hospice. It was suggested that Jeanne be admitted to Hospice Buffalo’s Mary and Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Inpatient Unit to get her symptoms under control and give her the care and attention she needed. Jeanne was hesitant about “going into hospice,” but agreed. She acknowledged, “I know my family can’t take care of me. It will be a big change, but I want what’s best for everyone.”
Aware of Jeanne’s condition and bucket list, her good friend and neighbor, Roxanne, wanted to help make one of her wishes come true. On August 1st, while the paramedics were on their way, Roxanne ran to Bon-Ton and bought Jeanne silver stilettos. Jeanne’s sons, Brian and Mark, helped her, as she was determined to stand up in the “cool” high heels she always wanted. Jeanne even wore them as she rode in the ambulance to Hospice Buffalo’s Inpatient Unit. Within minutes, the Hospice staff came to see the sparkly, silver shoes. Jeanne’s daughter, Sue, expressed her appreciation, “We will always cherish that moment.”
Jeanne enjoys spending her time in our inpatient unit, creatively coloring in her room and sitting in the outdoor gardens, as she looks forward
to the arrival of her sewing machine. Jeanne explained, “Hospice is different than I originally thought...wonderful people here – I can’t say enough.” Jeanne had become very popular among the Hospice Buffalo staff and formed a special bond with her aide, Leigh. “She helps me a lot – we’re two peas in a pod.”
With Hospice’s help, Jeanne made a commitment to herself to enjoy life and make the most of every day. Her candor, drive and gratitude left a lasting impression on everyone she met.
*Jeanne Hecei passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family on October 7th.
“If I live another week, I know it will be a good week. Right now I’m doing everything I did before [I got cancer]. We’re hoping to go to the Grand Canyon in May” exclaims Bill Steiner, 57-year old Hospice Buffalo patient.
Bill has been battling cancer for 14 years. Lisa, Bill’s caregiver, explains, “It’s in his kidneys, liver, colon, lymph nodes, lungs, and now his bones. He was first diagnosed in 2002 – no warning signs.” Bill comments, “It was a blessing my chiropractor requested a CT scan. I had no indication – no symptoms.”
“Over the last 9 years, I was either in chemo or having surgery,” Bill recalls. I’ve had a ton of chemo – I had to have different types for each kind of cancer. And I’ve had 9 or 10 surgeries…after a while, you give up keeping track. I was either having surgery or weaning off medicine so I could have surgery.” Bill’s quality of life was a rollercoaster: “Sometimes I’d get better, but then I’d
get worse.” Read more
“My Mom, Stephania, passed away on June 4th 2016 under the exceptional care of Team 5. All were wonderful, however, I would like to take this opportunity to advise you and thank (nurse) Hilda for the wonderful, thoughtful and sincere care she showed in taking care of my Mom. I have a beautiful memory of my Mom’s face just lighting up and smiling when we would tell her that Hilda was coming to see her. There are just not enough adjectives to let you know how fortunate Hospice is for having such an outstanding, hardworking, beautiful, dedicated person as Hilda, who just went above and beyond what you could expect. Hilda even came to Mom’s wake and I’m sure my Mom knew and was smiling.
Enclosed is a check to Hospice in my Mom’s memory and I hope to do the same at Christmas and thereafter.”
-Patricia from Buffalo
Hospice in Nursing Homes
Wells Hospice House
Beechwood Continuing Care
2235 Millersport Highway
Getzville, NY 14968-1219
Dear Mary and Staff,
I just wanted to take the time during the upcoming week of reflection to give thanks for our blessings and extend a genuine word of appreciation to everyone at Wells House for the kindness shown to me after the Memorial service on November 18th. The lovely service provided needed closure for me; however, the real highlight of the afternoon for me was being able to revisit Wells House to reunite with my mom’s caregivers! You have no idea how much the gesture meant to me and I will be forever grateful to Suzanne for suggesting that I visit. Just seeing Mary, Debbie, Maria, Shelly, Theresa and Toni made me feel at “home” again, surrounded by all the wonderful staff that provided stellar end-of-life care to my mom. Having taken care of mama all my life, admitting her to a facility was one of the worst days of my life that turned around to be a blessing in disguise. I learned another valuable lesson in life... good things can flow from heartache and sadness. As you all can attest, I enjoyed visiting mom at Wells during lunch and evenings. You provided an anchor for me while my world caved in and actually became a surrogate family since I had little support in that regard. I miss those visits!
In closing, I cannot admit the road I am walking has been easy since mom’s death. I endured life-altering challenges with no reprieve month-after-month. What little family I had
, left my side; however, friends stepped into my life unexpectedly providing a core group of support. They were casual friends, another lesson that God places the right people in all our lives at the right time knowing exactly what we need at a given moment! Through all the hardship, I interviewed twice and transferred within my company to a new position in Sales! Without a doubt I could not have endured everything without stepping into my mom’s shoes (literally, I do that from time to time) to acquire the strength and endurance she lived, right to her last breath. Thank you again for providing the peace in the midst of my storm knowing my mom was taken care of with dignity and compassion. Please feel free to share my Thanksgiving note of appreciation to anyone that touched my mom’s life Renata, Camille, Suzanne...the list flows onward along with my heartfelt prayers that your lives are touched with continued blessings from Above. Muriel is in heaven now enjoying her pumpkin pie!
-Charmaine S., Cheektowaga
Hospice Inpatient Unit
Pat & Patrick:
I hope that you both had a wonderful holiday! As I had mentioned to Patrick, my Mom was a patient at the facility five years ago and she died on Christmas Eve. This year, my brother, my nieces, and I wanted to visit the campus to walk around and reminisce. When we walked by my Mom’s room, it was empty (obviously recently, because two people were cleaning the room). My brother popped his head in and mentioned to the people that it had been my Mom’s room. Their response was amazing. They could NOT have been any kinder. They turned off the television and immediately vacated the room so that we could sit and talk about my Mom. They insisted that we take all the time we wanted, never returning until we had left the room. I might add, this was all done by them without me EVER identifying myself as being a Board member. (I did AFTERWARDS when I asked their names so that I could send this note). They could have easily, and understandably, told us that they had to get the room ready, etc. Instead, they identified the moment, and were wonderful Ambassadors for Hospice! Their names are: Joe Mitchell and Diane Grimm. We’re lucky to have them and the hundreds of other dedicated employees that embrace the mission! I trust that you will pass along our appreciation!
Happy New Year!