As a nurse at PruittHealth Hospice Aiken no day is the same. I left Pruitt in 2014 as a CNA and came back to work for Pruitt in September 2016 as an LPN. I can say that as a team we have come a long way from the way it used to be. We have mainly the same people, even brought back a few that had left, and I believe the change came with treating Partners with respect and dignity, and most importantly like family. Making sure that everyone has a passion for what they do and making sure everyone has an understanding that they are part of the team that’s valued and appreciated. Working in hospice is not for everyone, and can be challenging, overwhelming, and rewarding all at the same time. Projects like these help foster and promote caring, and changes the outlook on every person’s day if we come together and care for each other. I proudly work alongside some amazing individuals who never cease to amaze me.
Our project happened on a gorgeous, sunny day, one of those days that God slows you down, makes you take a deep breath and puts life in perspective. After weeks of hard work and preparation, we all experienced an event that was supposed to give a patient “A Final Wish”, but it gave us all a lesson in life about Family. Our patient is Mr. James Fann, an 89 year old WW2 Vet that's at our North Augusta facility. Mr. Fann has terminal cancer and when I asked him if he could do anything in the world right now what would it be? His wish was to just go home, spend time with family and friends, and play around on his Kawasaki Mule 4 wheeler (on his 46 acre farm) like he used to do.
Think about that for a minute! He didn't want to go to Disney or to do something on a bucket list, he just wanted to go home and be with his family and friends. Talk about perspective, priorities, and most of all love. Mr. Fann is one of the sweetest people that I know. I look forward to seeing him on my visits, and I miss him when I leave. I think about all of the things he has gone through in his life and how he overcomes everything. His outlook on life is contagious, and we are lucky to know him.
We made his day happen, we prepared the day as if it were a family reunion, a celebration of life, and we added in a few surprises. A few days before the event, Mr. Fann’s son, told us he was afraid that things might be getting too big and would possibly be too overwhelming for his Dad. We scaled things back a bit and everything was still perfect. Upon arriving home he immediately stepped out of the car and went straight for the Kawasaki ATV and asked “where’s the keys”. The outside was set up like a family reunion with tables and chairs and God blessed us with a gorgeous day as we prepared his favorite meal (BBQ and Ribs, macaroni and cheese, other various sides and had lots of sweets), listened to family stories, laughed and talked, and took turns letting Mr. Fann ride us around his farm. It truly was a family gathering. As a special add on our Chaplain Rick Nevard (Retired Army Chaplain) conducted a “Pinning Ceremony” for his service to our country. Mr. Fann gave a speech afterwards and thanked everyone for coming and said “this would be a day that he would never forget for the rest of his short life”. We are truly honored by this man and his family for allowing us to be a part of his day and we humbly thank him from the bottom of our hearts for teaching us yet another life lesson. Today truly was "Our Family, Your Family, One Family".
Mr. Fann’s Day made the front page of the Aiken Standard News and also ASTV. Since that day we have received numerous calls about our project and have even been asked by the Director of Memorial Day parade to reach out to Mr. Fann and his family about being the lead in the parade. This event truly shows that a wish might mean nothing to some but everything to someone else.