Avalon Hospice, TV Interview, Revived Body and Mind: October 4, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
A Few Hours to Come Back to Life
Like clockwork I woke at 8 am. On the journey whenever I needed to wake up, I would, even if it was 1 am or 2 am. It was strange...as if it was meant to be.
I had told Melanie from Avalon Hospice that I would call her at 9. I hobbled away from the bed, like an old man. I filled the bath with hot water and was glad that I didn't have to stand for a shower. I lay in the water and soaked up the warmth. My feet were tattered with dead skin, but the blisters had gone. That was something to be grateful for. By 8:45 I had finished my bath. I stood up and felt better than I had at 4 am.
I called Melanie. She would pick me up at 10.30 am. I had an hour and a half to come back to life.
I put on clothes and hobbled to the lobby in search of food. It was 9:15 am. I'd missed breakfast by 15 minutes. I laughed and thanked the receptionist. In my pack was one emergency packet of peanut M&Ms.
Boy did I love those M&Ms. I ate the packet and drank as much water as I could. The human body is an amazing thing. Just a few hours ago I had been exhausted. After 4 hours sleep, a bath, a bit of food and water I was starting to recover. I lay down on the bed and rested until just before 10:30.
Visiting Avalon Hospice
Melanie and Sue picked me up and drove me the short distance to Avalon Hospice. I was glad not to be walking.
The residential unit of Avalon Hospice was an impressive building. There were two wings with rooms for the patients. At the end of one was a lounge for families, with an aquarium with large, colorful tropical fish. At the end of the other wing was a small aviary with live and colorful finches. The fish and birds were incredible. The colors, movement and feel of the fish and birds brought life to the building.
The people who worked in the building brought more life to it too.
I was introduced to a hospice volunteer called Marian, who had written a book about her experience looking after her mother. Marian gave me a copy of her book.
I was also introduced to a massage therapist called Beverly. She had me sit down on a chair next to the finches’ aviary. As she massaged my neck and shoulders and back it felt good. After hours of walking with the pack that human touch was wonderful. When Beverly began I had been slouched on the seat. As she worked her magic I felt muscles pulling themselves together, until I was sitting up straight.
There was a hospice nurse called Dave, who had been on night shift. He had slept for around 4 hours and was back in the building to meet me. He had a great sense of humor.
A TV Crew Arrives
I was impressed, too, by Melanie. With only a few days notice she had set out to use my walk to help Avalon Hospice. Because of her I was now at Avalon Hospice. She had decided to do something and it had happened.
A TV crew contacted Melanie to say that they would come out on Sunday rather than Monday. We had a few minutes to go back to the motel to get my pack and get ready for the TV folks.
The TV crew was from ABC-12. I had passed their studio on Lapeer Road as I came into Flint at around 2 am.
Avalon Hospice's executive director, Jay Littleton arrived and then the TV crew arrived, too.
Considering my night's walk and 4 hours sleep the interview went well.
The reporter, Angela Brown and cameraman, Norman, knew what they were doing. I told them about my journey and the message that hospices needed help in the form of volunteers and support from the community. I also told them about being given money for hospice by a strange man at 3 am as I came into Flint.
Jay Littleton talked about Avalon Hospices services and a family who were being helped by the hospice told their story. For me it was good to see the gratitude that the family had for Avalon Hospice. In their time of need the hospice and its staff were there for them.
Click here to view the TV report
Visiting a Family; Making Connections Again
Once the television crew had gone I stopped off to talk to the family that had been interviewed. I told them about my journey. They were grateful to me and it was good to see the support that Avalon Hospice provided for them. The fact that they were not alone what was important.
For me, after 40 miles, walking in the dark, scared, and exhausted, the human contact was also important. Slowly I was recovering just by meeting the people at the hospice.
Kitchen staff at the hospice gave me lunch and Melanie dropped me back at the Comfort Inn. I managed to wash my dirty laundry and ate again at a Mexican restaurant close by. By 9 pm I was asleep.