Saturday, May 28, 2005

Terminal Connections

By "terminal" I don't mean where you go to get on a plane or a phone connection. I've been thinking about the other meaning.

It's not morbid to think about the end of life - for a nurse who has seen it many times professionally and personally, I can't escape it. I'm faced with my own mortality everytime I walk into one of our nursing homes, whether I'm conciously aware of it or not.

And, over the last few days, I've been to two facilties who have residents (alert and oriented residents) who are facing the end of their lives and each one is facing it very differently - maybe because of their ages. The forty-four year old woman wants "everything done" even though all her organs are shutting down. The ninety- year old just wants to go home for one more time.

I'm off work today, so I was able to spend some quality time with Huusker, my big male tabby, as we snuggled together in bed. Huusk likes to jump up next to me and spoon his warm furry body next to mine. He rests his head on my hand and I curl around him. His loud purring is comforting - a wonderful way for me to slowly awaken.

As Huusker and I cuddled I thought, "This is how I want to spend the last days of my life - being comforted by loved ones - even the four-legged ones." Curled up next to a warm furry body.

But I also have two very unusual requests: Maybe only one of them could be granted - but one would be good enough.

If I'm terminally ill, I want to be able to do either one or both of the following:
1. Pet a tiger
2. Hug and pet a wolf

Number two may be the easier one. I know I can't do it at the Lakota Wolf Preserve ( because they could lose their permit if they allow anyone access to the wolves who is not an employee. My dying wish is not as important as maintaining that preserve.
However, maybe my memorial service could be there and the guides could get the wolves to howl for me.

Know that I will certainly hear it.


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