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Life is Too Short, You Gotta Enjoy it!

Maggie Appiah and Bob Speelman

July 28, 2022
I was at McNaughten Pointe, one of our facilities in Columbus, Ohio, several weeks ago working as a Nursing Assistant when a Nursing Assistant from Bella Care Hospice walked onto the unit, and everyone lit up.

They all said, “Hi Maggie! How are you?” I was intrigued by the warm reception from everyone, and I introduced myself to Maggie and explained what I was doing. She said, “Well, you should shadow me some time and see what Hospice is all about.” I told her I would love to, so I reached out to Catie Bryan, the Administrator and Director of Operations of Bella Care Hospice, and told her about my meeting with Maggie, and she gave her enthusiastic blessing to shadow Maggie.

I met Margaret (Maggie) Appiah at one of her facilities, where she currently has three residents on Hospice. She gave me some of her background about being a Nursing Assistant beginning in 2001. She worked years in the industry but never felt it was exactly what she was supposed to be doing. Over the years, she had a few other jobs on the side but was never fulfilled.

There was a Nurse she knew and respected when she worked as a Nursing Assistant, who worked for a Hospice Company. She asked Maggie if she had ever considered being a Hospice Aide.

Maggie told her no, but it stuck with her, and then a friend of hers was working for Bella Care Hospice and loved it. When her friend told her they were hiring, Maggie applied and was hired. For the first time in her life, she felt at home and doing what she was called to do.

I asked Maggie why it was so different at Bella Care Hospice. Maggie told me, “when I was a Nursing Assistant in a facility, I had 10-15 patients, and I needed to make sure I took care of each and every one of them. With everything you needed to do, you didn’t get to have real quality time with residents. With Hospice, I get to spend quality time with all of my residents. I don’t feel rushed and can give them exactly what they need.”

I saw firsthand exactly what Maggie was talking about when we went in to meet one of her residents and give him care. He was in pain and didn’t want Maggie to give him a shower and just wanted to be left alone. Maggie asked about the pain and got with the Nurse to give him some medication to help. She told him we would give the medication time to work and would be back. We went and provided care to the other residents and came back about an hour later. The resident was still in pain, but Maggie didn’t want to give up. She sat with him and talked to him, and after about 30 minutes, he agreed to allow us to clean him up and get him fresh linen for his bed. Maggie’s patience and caring were remarkable. I honestly didn’t think he was going to allow us to provide the care. Maggie knew if she took her time with him and let the medication take effect, he would agree.

Maggie told me about different programs that Bella Care Hospice offers that make her really proud and excited to work for them.

One program that made her the most excited is called Celebrate Life. Maggie explained that it’s a program where they receive donations to do special things for their residents. One of the residents in Columbus that we happened to be working with loves to shop, eat out and socialize. Celebrate Life is scheduling a time for her and Maggie and a family member to go to Easton Town Centre in Columbus to shop and eat out. I was blown away.

I told Maggie that before spending time with her, I always associated Hospice with death. I didn’t know if I could work in the field because I would get too depressed. She told me that she completely understood. She said she realized early on, “It makes me appreciate things more. I don’t sweat the small stuff after seeing what some of my residents are dealing with day to day. My mission every day is to make someone feel better. Whatever it takes. Life is too short, you gotta enjoy it!”

It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving,

but like the morning light it scattered the night

and made the day worth living.”

- F. Scott Fitzgerald

Maggie – I am so glad I met you! Your smile, your love, and your compassion are making a difference. I am so glad I met you and so inspired by your words.

To learn more about Bella Care Hospice, click the button below.

Bella Care Hospice

Bob Speelman, STNA

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