An open house was held this week to unveil the new addition at the McLeod Hospice House. This event provided an opportunity for guests to view the new patient rooms at this special facility, located along the McLeod Medical Mile at 1203 East Cheves Street in Florence, South Carolina.
Since the opening of the 12-bed Hospice House in 2005, the reputation of McLeod Hospice for care and compassion; and the desire for families with loved ones who are critically ill to receive inpatient hospice care close to home has grown steadily, resulting in increased demand for patient rooms in the McLeod Hospice House.
Responding to the needs of the community, the McLeod Foundation launched an effort to raise funds to expand Hospice service and the facility. The two new wings of the McLeod Hospice House include 12 inpatient rooms, two family comfort areas, and additional office space. A new Meditation Garden has also been created adjacent to the additional patient rooms to offer patients and families an area of respite. The project has been totally funded through philanthropic support.
With care centered on the unique needs of the patient at the end of life, the environment of the McLeod Hospice House speaks to the comfort and spiritual needs of both the patient and the family. The McLeod Hospice House is currently the only inpatient hospice facility in the region. Without the McLeod Hospice House, families wishing to receive care in a similar setting would have to travel to Georgetown or Columbia. McLeod Hospice serves patients in Florence, Darlington, Dillon, Lee, Marion, Clarendon and Williamsburg counties.
At a reception Thursday evening, McLeod presenters acknowledged the work of an extraordinary staff of professionals, the vision of medical leadership and outstanding community support. Hospice Administrator Joan Pavy reflected on the mission of Hospice and extended her gratitude for the support that has made the vision of Hospice comfort and care a reality. Honoring the lives and love that encourage others was also underscored in remarks shared by Dale Locklair, Vice President of Procurement and Construction. I’d like to share his heart-felt comments as well.
Only 10 months into their marriage, during an otherwise calm Sunday drive to church, one July morning, a young Navy couple’s car was broadsided by an ambulance racing through an intersection. The driver of the car, R.L. Alford, sustained minor injuries, but his wife was thrown from the vehicle. Hilda suffered a massive head injury, leaving her a quadriplegic, legally blind, and unable to speak.
In September 2006, fifty years after the accident, the R.L. and Hilda Alford celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.
For these 50 years, R.L. communicated with his wife through little more than the nods of her head. Fifty years he pushed her wheelchair, or as he preferred, cradled his dear Hilda in his arms, carrying her wherever they went. Fifty years, he emptied her bed pan and cleaned up her bowel movements. And in her last years, R.L. fed Hilda through a tube, learning how to insert her catheters. Looking back at that time, R.L. humbly remarked, “Sure, it’s been rough in some ways. But it’s been rewarding.”
On Saturday, August 14, 2010, Hilda L. Alford, age 72, of Blountstown, Florida passed away. During their 50+ years of marriage Hilda birthed two children, a son and a daughter. Hilda and R.L. had two grandchildren.
“When R.L. was asked to repeat the vow ”for better or worse,” a neighbor said, “he heard it real loud. Medically, it’s a miracle Hilda is still alive. She’s alive because R.L. gave his life to her.” Hilda lived…Hilda experienced life because R.L. loved Hilda and gave his life to her!.That’s the spirit of Hospice. Stephen Covey said that, “To touch the soul of another human being is to walk on holy ground.”
Your generous gifts and support touch others. People live life to the fullest at McLeod Hospice, because others give selflessly of their money, their time and themselves. At times it is surely difficult and taxing to be a selfless giver. At times, it can be draining, but if he were speaking to us, I suspect R.L. would tell us, “it’s rough in some ways, but it is rewarding.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American Essayist and poet, wrote,
“To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded,”
Emerson was in a true sense referring to the men and women who serve others by providing hospice care.
“I wanted a perfect ending,” the late actress, Gilda Radner once said, “Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.”
The doctors, nurses and caregivers at McLeod Hospice give selflessly each day so that. Our neighbors – like the man who lives three streets over, or…Our friends – like the dear woman who lived next door for years and who brought chicken soup and chocolate chip cookies when we were sick, or…The sweet, young woman who is suffering from a devastating illness and who with her husband of seven years and the two small children live just two houses down, or…Our dearest friend’s mother, and yes, Our own beloved family member can live their lives as fully as possible with comfort and quality of life.
McLeod Hospice is not here to hasten death or “help” someone die. Everyday, the caring people at McLeod Hospice focus on relieving the pain, symptoms and stress of a life-threatening illness and improving quality of life for our neighbors, our friends and family members.
Today let us dedicate this new addition with the commitment that it will always be used in the spirit which is McLeod – the spirit and commitment of service to others and to the men and women who have and who will give themselves as an affirmation of life, so that on those days when the poems don’t rhyme or there seems to be no clear beginning or middle or end, the patients we serve can live the remainder of their lives as fully as possible. Today, we affirm their work, and we honor their spirit because this is a noble and worthy calling, and because love is not just as strong as death, love is more powerful than death.
Thank you to all who make the work of Hospice a gift to others.