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“Hi, Liz, I’m here! Got a surprise for you!” the voice called from the front door. It was Alice, my hospice nurse. “Stay where you are. I just couldn’t resist!” she added, her speech lilting like a Scotch folk singer at a fair. My curiosity mounted as I heard a second pair of footsteps following hers moving through my bungalow. I finished my nebulizer treatment, then remained seated upon the kitchen stool, my eyes toward the window.

“Thought you’d enjoy these—Just clipped them this morning—From my Rose of Sharon tree, by the garage.” I smiled and turned around as she placed a plastic cup with four creamy pink blossoms and a cluster of splitting buds on the dining room table, the setting for my weekly check-ups. “And Sam’s with me, another student nurse who’ll graduate soon. You’re so good about letting our students evaluate you, especially with Covid. This batch hasn’t had much experience with patients—only with the Life/Form manikins.”

Both Alice and Sam, the student nurse, in masks and uniform blues, received my thanks as I studied the arrangement and prepared for the usual questions on my overall functioning. Again, not much new to report—Still plateaued upon my present weakness, shortness of breath, and exhaustion, until the next drop of my symptoms whenever that occurs; such has been my experience since the November 2019 hospice sign-up.

Besides Alice’s occasional gifts of flowers and colored leaves, I’ve also received her lightness of manner, sometimes verging upon hilarity that colors my trust in her expertise. When my time comes, I know I’ll be in skillful hands, related to her warm heart that knows deep things.

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