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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
November 18, 1994     The Message
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November 18, 1994

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Iber 18, 1994 The Messn_ge m for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana By MARy ANN HUGHES Message staff writer It was a dreary November as Brenda Knies and Renee Cunningham their four-wheel headed north out of they drove over iso- Country roads, fre- deer, they talked patients. The living And the ones who have After a 45-minute drive Jasper Hospice: Helping families in their darkest hours pink, looking fragile and radi- ant. And elated to see her visi- tors. As she welcomed them into her home, everyone's eyes flashed to the hospital bed in the living room. There, next to the picture window, lay Bob Pruett. Suffering with brain tumors for the past two years, Bob's left leg had curled into a painfuHooking angle and his eyes were blank. For Brenda and Sister tell them that hope takes all forms. There is the hope dying a pain-free death, the that the family accepts the gravel roads, they home of Lena Lena an- door, dressed in Brenda Kniese Renee, their arrival in the Pruett home marked the real start of their day's work. The two registered nurses knew drn;llowing'n is a feature in the Messa,e desi ned to hel uw togethe - ,, , g P Iead .... r the People of God in southwestern Indiana. may be: are..tnvzted to submit information about neole who 'eIzt by o ' '- '- ., o,,,e extra prayers and attention. shower,' lIessageofferlnreadersr are encouraged to participate in a card for bIa _ g Payers of hoe and ins iration for recover , ry Wa- - P P Y Burke Is gner liurke, Cursillo and a reli "- " aparticipant of both TEC and uus ed ..... Her a ucatla. teacher at St. Mary Church, Ireland. uttress Is 31 Cedar Crest Street, Jasper IN 47546. Itlsgr. Leo Conti, a priest of the Diocese of Evansville, Guest House in Rochester, Minn., to begin a program. With Msgr. Conti's approval, Gettelfinger informed priests and pastoral in the diocese about his decision. may be sent to him at Guest House, P. O. ter, MN 55903. Q, Services for Mode ta, a rn- - 1 Munsil, 75, the sister of Elmo teter eraber of the maintenance staff at the Catholic , Were held Nov. 6 in Kentucky. :e d information for PEOPLE WE CARE v- ary Ann Hughes, The Messa e P.O. Box unsville, IN47724: g ' IN Ed. L. Lee 3 Mortuary 101 North Meridian Street Washington, IN 254-3612 Brenda Knies and Sister Renee Cunningham visit with Hospice patient Bob Pruett dur- ing a visit to his rural Shoals home. -- Message photo by Mary Ann Hughes they were there to do more than answer medical ques- tions. They were there to light up a home that was sur- rounded with the darkness of an oncoming death. For the past three years, helping families during their bleakest hours has been the main purpose of Family Hos- pice at Memorial Hospital in Jasper. It's a team approach that offers physical, social, emotional and spiritual care to patients and families dealing with terminal illness. The Hospice workers are on call 24-hours a day, seven days a week, no one is ever turned away, and all services are free. Their work begins when a pa- tient is in the end stages of a disease, when nothing further can be done to cure the patient, when it's time to "keep the pa- tient comfortable," Brenda said. That's usually the time when family members are in a state of shock. And denial. Often, when Hospice first contacts the family, they are in denial. "They will say, 'We'll call you.' Then, in about two weeks, they call. They find things are overwhelming." Hospice works on two premises. One, that termi- nally-ill patients are more com- fortable at home. And, two, that there is hope. Hope for a painless, peaceful death, and acceptance by the family mem- bers. Brenda believes it is impor- tant for her patients to be in their homes during the final stages of their illness, partly, because in their homes, they have control. "In the hospitals, patients lose control. We en- courage people to be in control. They need to make decisions. "Also, when they are at home, they are the main one, and the families will give them pain medicine." Sister Renee noted that pa- tients often feel they are less of a burden when they are at home. "The family can still do laundry and the housework, and they are not sitting around-the-clock in a hospital room." And there is just something very comforting about being in your own home, Lena said. Re- ferring to her husband, she said, "I wouldn't have him lying in hospital, when I know he would rather be here." Besides the comfort of home, Hospice workers also provide hope, Brenda said. Not hope for a cure, but hope for a pain- free, peaceful death. "Twenty to 30 years ago, can- cer was a painful death. Today, we can promise them a pain- free death, and promise they will not be alone. Today, there is no reason for anyone to be in pain. And that's our main goal, that they are alert, but not drugged." "Funeral Pre-Planning o.o.w. N-T.O'W'N Since 1940" 424-9274 i ''''"''v'"c'""'''"''"' A SERVICE Yn Uto! Home! Fire & Life! . m=rPersonal Service Agent L. Will Ins. Agency InC. din Street 425-3187 The Hospice workers also try to prepare family members for the impending death. "We tell them what's going on with the illness, and explain the stages of the illness. We do want the family to realize when the pa- tient is deteriorating and we show them signs that the ill- ness is progressing. "Many people have never seen anyone die, so we try to be there when they call us, so we can say, his is part of it, this is what happens.'" Brenda said terminally-ill patients are often afraid of the dying process, "of what they will have to go through." Sister Renee concurred, not- ing, "They are mainly afraid of being in pain and being sick all the time." Brenda said, "We tell them that hope takes all different forms. There is the hope of dying a pain-free death, the hope that the family accepts the dying." Ideally, families talk to one another about the death and say their good-byes, Brenda said. "We always encourage family members to say good- bye." When a patient becomes in- volved with Hospice, they will be seen once or twice a week. As their illness progresses, they may have daily /isits, then twice a day. "Especially toward the end, we are there a lot." The Hospice workers try. to be present for their patients' deaths. They find, that as their patients make the transition to the "next world, you see smiles, and peaceful looks.  Brenda said, "If I didn't be- lieve in the here-after, I couldn't do this job." Sister Renee agree. "My faith allows me to believe that death is a gift. That it's going to get better. I am getting more trusting that everything hap- pens for a reason, and that, in time, the Lord will make that roason knowa.