When I first signed up for my HLTH320 class, the class that goes along with the Lori’s Hands club, I knew that I would be working with people who had been diagnosed with a chronic illness, but I was unsure and apprehensive about how I would be able to handle this situation. As a nursing student, I was hoping to gain skills about working with patients and how to talk to them about their illness.
Before my first visit with Dave, I really did not know what to expect and was very nervous to meet him. I was not sure if I should treat him like a patient or like a friend. I did not know if we would have things to talk about or if we would just be sitting there in silence. I did not know if Dave would be an approachable person or someone who just kept to himself.
When Dave opened the door upon our first visit, I had never seen someone smile so big before in my life. I immediately felt very comfortable and welcomed in his home, like he was someone who I had known for a very long time. Dave was so friendly and instantly began talking to my partner and I like we were old friends of his. We prepared dinner and all ate together at Dave’s kitchen table, talking, laughing, sharing stories, and learning about each other’s lives. I really enjoyed the first visit with Dave and was surprised at how casual our conversations were.
Every week after that I looked forward to seeing Dave and I was excited to hang out with him and just talk. At the end of each visit, we would talk about what meal we would have at our next visit. We even prepared a Thanksgiving dinner in November, complete with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberries, and pumpkin bread. These visits quickly changed from a requirement that I had to fulfill in order to pass my class, to an event that I looked forward to week after week.
Written by: Leslie Hirshberg