Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Time to Reap

Happy first day of autumn!
We have such beautiful weather this week
to help us make the shift into the season.
It's harvest time, so this month's care bags
include some fruit and grains. 
We packed a little applesauce
with some Nutri-Grain Bars,

 and popped in some baked Goldfish crackers.
Simple and YUMMY!!!
I started handing out the bags yesterday.
Today, one patient said...
"Thanks so much for the treats. 
That bag of Goldfish crackers was the perfect thing
to munch on during chemo today!"
The spouse of another patient said...
"My husband hasn't been eating much, but I want you to know he was really excited about the treats.  He ate all the applesauce, the whole Nutri-Grain bar and half the bag of Goldfish crackers when we got home. 
I couldn't believe it!"
Another one said...
"I ate the Goldfish during the Bears game
and then had the Nutri-Grain bar and applesauce for breakfast this morning."
Simple acts of kindness go a long way
when someone isn't feeling well.
Thanks to YOU we can make this happen.
Sow a thought and you reap an action;
sow an act and you reap a habit;
sow a habit and you reap a character;
sow a character and you reap a destiny.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson -

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Some Special Favors!

In July, I received the following message from a young lady I've known for quite some time.  Oh my...
After much discussion, Curtis and I realized that we wanted to do something special for our guests.  We have been to many weddings where the favors are left on the table and the money goes to waste.  So we decided to donate the money we would spend on favors instead.  We would love to write a check to the Scatter Kindness Fund, and we'll have a bouquet of sunflowers with a special note dedicated to Erin at our reception so guests will understand what an impact she has made, and continues to make on this world. 

Dave and I were thrilled to attend the wedding of Emily Hagen and Curtis Cribben yesterday. 
The ceremony was beautiful. 
The reception was a blast. 
And, look at the gorgeous bouquet of sunflowers
that was displayed on the table as we walked in the door to the clubhouse at Cog Hill.

I met Emily during my St. Cletus days, and became well-acquainted with her when I was her volleyball coach. Of course I had to pull out some old photos this morning and do a little reminiscing! Erin, the mascot in the bandana wearing war-paint, is leaning on the coveted Hodgkins Tournament trophy that my 7th grade team had just won.  Emily is the first girl on the left in the bottom row.     
She has changed a little since then! 
Emily is now an ER nurse at a hospital in Iowa where she and Curtis reside.

What hasn't changed a whole lot through the years is Emily's character.  Back in those St. Cletus days she was an intelligent, athletic, competitive, sweet girl who did not always follow the crowd.  She was independent and confident; sometimes uncommon traits for one so young.  I would still use those words to describe her today.  I'd just ramp them up a bit, and then add things like... poised and generous of heart.   
To coin an often used phrase, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.".
This is certainly the case with the Hagen family. 
Those of us who are members of the St. Cletus community know Emily's mom, both in the formal sense as Dr. Hagen - prominent surgeon with Adventist Health, and also as simply, Colleen - mother of four kids (now grandmother to one really cute little boy), Parish member active in so many causes, Girl Scout leader and lunch mom back in the day... basically, plate juggler extraordinaire.  
I know her as -
Dr. Hagen from whom I received professional care.
Colleen, the St. Cletus MOM pictured below.
And, Colleen, the dear friend who showed up on our doorstep with a homemade apple/sausage breakfast casserole a couple of days after Erin died.

We can't predict the path our lives will take.  Many of us have been slapped with this realization quite sharply.  The best we can do is to try and accept what is handed to us (hard work), rely on the community of family and friends to support us (amen) when we hit the speed bumps and be willing to offer ourselves to those in need, with the awareness that it could be/has been one of us already. 
Emily and Curtis - Mr. & Mrs. Cribben! -
thank you from the bottom of our hearts for supporting our cause
and inviting Erin to be part of your special day.
Thanks to donations such as this, we've been able to provide many intentional acts of kindness that are unique to the needs of individuals.  Here are just a few...
v Gift cards were purchased for the husband and son of a patient who passed away.  The cards were for groceries and a toy for the child.
v A patient who was experiencing back pain was seeing a massage therapist.  A gift card helped with the cost of the next massage.
v A patient became a grandpa!  He was given a teddy bear and a gift card to take his daughter to lunch.
v While going through chemo treatment, a patient’s son was admitted to AHH Pediatrics for pneumonia. Mom was given some pampering items (lotion, etc.) and a Panera gift card so she could grab a sandwich on the run.  Her son was given a Lego Superhero set.
v A patient who loves baseball was treated to two tickets to a Cubs game.
v A patient’s ride to his radiation CT/Sim appointment fell through, and Scatter Kindness paid for the cab fare to and from the hospital.
v The Olive Garden was a favorite monthly gathering spot for a patient and her friends. She was given a gift card for the restaurant.
v  Gift cards for groceries and gas were given to a patient who could no longer work.
v A chocolate lover was given a box of Fannie Mae candy.  Yum!
v A movie buff loved to attend afternoon matinees with his wife.  He was given a Cinemax gift card to see Godzilla!
v A White Sox fan was given a coffee mug and a “Home Sweet Home Chicago” sign.
v A patient with a sweet tooth was given some Mrs. Fields cookies.
v The spouse of a patient admitted to the hospital was feeling down. A chocolate shake sounded good to him.  Scatter Kindness bought a large shake for him.
v While at the infusion center for treatment, a patient’s daughter (who had accompanied her to chemo) had a seizure and was brought via ambulance to the AHH ER.  Scatter Kindness paid for lunch for the patient while her daughter was tended to in the ER.
Really great stuff is happening! 
Stay tuned for more news.
Oh, by the way. 
I started working in a new department three weeks ago. 
Patient Navigator - Oncology Services.
I'm just a little excited!!!