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The Senior Nursing Facility

 

This particular incident happened within the last year, and it just occurred to me to post it. I worked for eighteen years as a Medic. After that time period it was beginning to take a toll on my back (there are more back injuries in the EMS field than 'any' other occupation.). After I withdrew from working with an ambulance squad I did home nursing care for four years until I got hired where I am, working now.

I am, now, a full-time Receptionist in a senior nursing facility (not mentioning the name-it's a state-wide organization) that has Independent Living, Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, and Memory Care all within one location. We offer a very wide range of services for the elderly.

I work in the independent living area, which is also the main entrance, and the main switchboard to route calls to the appropriate areas. It's located in Westlake, Ohio. The particular road it's on is called nursing home strip due to the fact that there's a long line of nursing homes stretching from Rocky River to Westlake.

The area I work in is manned twenty four hours, seven days/week, three-hundred sixty-five days/year.

My medical background is what attracted my supervisor's attention when she spotted my resume' on Indeed. She called me. We set up an interview for the next day. I went there, and met her. She seemed very impressed that I was a former medic because there do arise medical emergencies in independent living as there are elderly residents living there. She wanted someone that could address those incidents in a timely manner, but keep a cool head whilst evaluating the situation. I seemed to fit the bill. Unbeknownst to me, I was hired after I left her office. She called the next day to send me to an Urgent Care Office to get a physical. I passed. Yay!

The residents that live there were quick to spot a new face at the front desk. They would introduce themselves, and inquire about my name, and the like. They are all very sweet. I really like working there. I seem to have an affinity for working with the elderly. I'm good at it, and I really enjoy helping people. That is why I went into the medical field in the first place. I enjoy helping people.

You simply cannot help but get close to those residents after seeing, and addressing their needs day in, and day out. I'm not an emotionless robot. I'm a person, and I have feelings for them. It's too hard not to. We are to the point that we are like an extended 'family' to them.

They're wonderful!

This one little lady, Ruthie, was quick to familiarize herself with me. She was especially excited when she found out from another coworker that I was a retired medic. She told me that she was a former Registered Nurse who used to be the head nurse in a downtown hospital in Cleveland. She was delighted. We had some very enjoyable conversations swapping our medical exploits. She loved talking to me, but she was respectful of the times when I was busy. Like when I did the evening dinner/welfare checks. She would wait until I was done with them, and come back down to the desk around 8:00 at night so she could visit with me. She would, then, bid me a 'good night', and go back to her apartment to get ready for bed by 9:00.

We got very close in the first three years I was there. I met her children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. They came to see her to take her out frequently. Unfortunately, after those three years, she began to decline. She was in her late eighties, and had several health issues that were getting worse. I hated seeing that happen to her, but it happens to a lot of them that reside there. She went from walking on her own to a walker, and then a motorized scooter.

Eventually she wound up over in the skilled nursing facility. She was there for a couple months, and her family would visit her regularly.

After those two months she passed on during a day off that I had. When I got back to work the day receptionist informed me of what happened to her. I went into the employee restroom, and cried. I pulled myself together by reminding myself that she was in a far better place now with her husband, and other loved ones, and no longer suffering. However, I still missed seeing, and talking to her. I thought of her often.

It was several months later that I was working the evening shift. I was doing my dinner/welfare checks. Those that I called that didn't answer their phones I had to physically go check on. Her apartment was rented to a new resident that I had to check on as he did not come down to dinner, none of the other employees had 'seen' him, and he didn't answer the phone when I called. I gathered up my equipment-cordless phone, pager, paper, pen, and master key to enter the apartment if need be. I knocked on the door of #115. No answer. I let myself in. I called out that it was me, and proceeded to do a sweep of all the rooms. He wasn't home. As I was leaving the bedroom, and coming back into the living room, there on the couch, as plain as day, was Ruthie. She was sitting there looking as robust as ever. She had a broad smile on her face, and she smiled, and waved in recognition of me. I was overwhelmed. I said "Ruthie. It's wonderful to see you. I miss you!". After I said that she grinned again, and gave me a little wink. Then she raised her hand to wave at me again, and then she faded away. I got a little emotional, and had to choke back the tears. I thought I was just hallucinating for a moment, and went about finishing my checking rounds.

Once I returned to the desk, I had time to sit, and evaluate what just happened. I wasn't about to tell my fellow workers about it for fear of them thinking that I was either, two short of a six-pack, or possibly, scaring them. I kept it to myself. Yet, I had to ponder about it.

I know what I saw. Was it possible that she just came back to see me one last time, and assure me that she was alright now? That was the only theory that made any sense to me.

Funny thing though. The other evening/night-shift women that work the desk told me that, for 'some strange reason', whenever 'they' did the welfare checks in 'that' apartment, that it always felt extremely cold in there. I didn't notice any difference in temperature when "I" went in there. Now I have to ask, was Ruthie just staying around, and 'waiting' for me to come on duty to make the rounds so she could make herself known to me? I didn't see her anymore after that. Almost wish I would, but I realize she's much better off now.

I am continuing to develop close relationships with the other residents living there. We even have a couple local famous people living there. However, out of respect for their privacy, I won't give their names.

I am something of a senior myself (I admit it!). My age is another thing that was in my favor when my boss hired me. She appreciated my background, and experience due, largely, to my age. I, personally, cannot afford to 'retire' as it were. I 'have' to keep working. One of these mornings after I've pulled the third shift, someone will come in, and find my corpse sitting behind the desk, in front of the computer. Actually, that's not such a bad way to go. Performing my duty, lol!

Seriously though, I enjoy the work I do. However, I never expected the added bonus of seeing a resident that I grew very fond of who passed on, showing up to smile, and wave to me. I am very grateful that I met Ruthie, and feel I'm all the 'better' for having know her. Since it is a senior facility I work in I'm sure I have other encounters waiting for me! Thanks for reading!

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by yourghoststories.com. Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Linjahaha, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

DarriuxDarkk (6 stories) (80 posts)
 
5 months ago (2024-01-26)
Linjahaha your story resonates with me because I also work in the healthcare field. When I was a freah grad nurse, I was working in a nursing home and I too have some good experiences with the residents. This resident always love it when I work because I tend to be more empathic and genuinely care for this resident. She was very sick though with cancer so she also passed away on my off day. It makes me wonder on how similar your experience is mine. It's like they waited for us to be on our off days before they moved on to next life, probably because they wouldn't want us to be sad on that very moment? Anyway I love your story. I always like stories from hospitals or nursing homes. God bless.
Linjahaha (24 stories) (142 posts)
+3
5 months ago (2024-01-21)
Pelatiah: She looked quite normal. Like she was really sitting on the couch. Except, like I mentioned, she looked so 'robust, & healthy' again. In other words, she looked like she was completely healthy, & functional. Like when I first met her. She was very able to get around on her own when we first met. Watching her decline over the years was hard. Not unlike when I was watching my darling husband, or more recently, Father, decline over the last 2-3 years. That's so very hard to see it happening. I guess my feelings run very deep. That's why I'm so easily affected. One might call me too sensitive. So be it. That's just how "I" am. It could be that part of me that makes very adept [at] the kind of work I do.
In the medical field they caution you not to get too involved with your patients on an emotional level. However, I feel if your a human being, you can't avoid having feelings for them. I'm not Einstein, but 'that's' how I feel about it.
Thank you, very much for you thoughtful comments!

Take care! 😊 😊
Pelatiah (4 stories) (75 posts)
+3
5 months ago (2024-01-20)
Linjahaha,
Such a great story and I agree with you and love your attitude and your enthusiasm for your job. You're a special person and Ruthie apparently thought so too, keep up the good work!

I love that she waved and had a smile! Did you notice at all any white glow near her, or did she look "normal" or what? Just curious.
Linjahaha (24 stories) (142 posts)
+2
5 months ago (2024-01-20)
Dear Crimson: The new resident in #115 wasn't home. He was out with his family, & didn't let us know about it, but he was alright.
Thank you for you kind words, also. It's nice to be appreciated. However, I'm doing what I really enjoy doing, & hope to do it for some time yet. Retirement? I'm too accustomed to working. I have to feel like I serve a purpose. I'm not getting rich, but I'm satisfied that I'm filling a need!

Thank You So Much Again! ❤ 😊
CrimsonTopaz (1 stories) (239 posts)
+2
5 months ago (2024-01-20)
Linjahaha,
What a lovely lady you must be to give your time and energy to care for others. It's a selfless act and warrants recognition. No doubt the families of the residents and the residents just Ruthie appreciate your kindness and care.
I was teary when I read Ruthie passed, I can't imagine how you felt having known her for years.
Where was the new resident from #115 that you went looking for? Who found him? Poor guy may have lost his bearings.
Thank you dearly for sharing this story with us. It was a lovely friendship you had and it obviously meant just as much to Ruthie.
Rajine (14 stories) (813 posts)
+3
5 months ago (2024-01-19)
I feel that she presented herself to you, just to let you know that she's in a better place, you must be a very special person to her for her to reveal herself to you.
Linjahaha (24 stories) (142 posts)
+4
5 months ago (2024-01-18)
To: RCRuskin, & Tweed, No I haven't seen Ruthie since that 'one' single time. That's why I fell that she just 'wanted' me to know that she appreciated me, & she was, now, alright.
I think that when someone passes on they may have an unfinished thought that they didn't get to follow through on. Just hypothesizing
Here.
My late grandma, & husband came to visit me several times after their passing. Those visits 'always' provided me with a sense of peace, & comfort.
I assure you. If they cared about you, they will 'find' a way to communicate with you, & it's nothing to be afraid of. It affirms the fact that there is more to this mortal plane of existence than what we realize!

Thanks for Reading! 😊 😊
RCRuskin (9 stories) (826 posts)
+4
5 months ago (2024-01-18)
Have you seen Ruthie after this specific encounter you related to us?
Tweed (35 stories) (2501 posts)
+7
5 months ago (2024-01-18)
Hi Linjahaha,

It sounds like you've underestimated the positive impact you had on Ruthie. I know society tends to encourage the attitude of 'I'm just a caregiver' and 'it's just a job'. In reality the meaningful connections we make in our lives can happen in the blink of an eye and they're not always family or life long friends. Fact is you and Ruthie clicked.

I assume the checks you were doing on that day were done around the same time each day, so Ruthie would've known approximately when you'd enter the room. Sounds like she was waiting for you, which again speaks to the connection you shared.

There's been discussion on here in the past about how spirits show themselves. One theme that seems to occur more often than not is that when there's a visible apparition the ghost won't 'talk' and vice versa. That is to say a ghost may 'talk' and show themselves, but it never seems to occur simultaneously, or at least it's a very rare occurrence if it does. One theory about this is the amount of energy required to pull it off so to speak.

Ruthie waving and smiling to you may have been her way of speaking without drawing too much energy from wherever. These kinds of experiences really show how important someone was/is to another soul.

Thanks for sharing and the great work you do.
Linjahaha (24 stories) (142 posts)
+3
5 months ago (2024-01-17)
lady-glow: Thank you for your comments. I tend to agree with you here. That possibly I 'did' cross Ruthie's mind before she passed on. Possibly she just showed up long enough to let me know she's alright now. I wasn't scared by seeing her. It was actually very emotional for me. I feel flattered that she 'wanted' me to see her with that wonderful, sweet smile on her face.
I'm glad that you read, & enjoyed this account!

All the Best! 😊 😊
lady-glow (16 stories) (3160 posts)
+5
5 months ago (2024-01-17)
Hi Linjahaha.

In my opinion, it's possible that Ruthie thought of you at the moment of her passing and finally found a chance to thank you for your friendship and all the things you did for her.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful experience with us.

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