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I Forge Iron

Another passing

Michael Cochran

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My wife works at an assisted living facility nearby and one of the residents passed this morning. I don’t know much because she’s not really allowed to discuss people at work due to HIPPA regulations. All I know is she’s upset because she feels some blame. She checked on the person and when someone else came it later to check on them the other girl noticed the resident wasn’t breathing. The little bit I know is the person had difficulty breathing already and last night one of the employees claims to have seen the reaper (something not too uncommon in these types of facilities however it’s usually the residents that claim to see the reaper). 

The resident had family there when I went to take my wife lunch. Obviously many people are distraught as a result. Several people will need to find peace in the coming days, weeks, etc.

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Mr. Cochran,

Feeling some remorse about the death of a patient, in ones care is, unfortunately, an inescapable part of the job. Your wife deserves compassion and solicitous consideration. (for that matter the deceased et al. may need a bit too). 

Hang in there, you two, things improve with a little time.

Been there: done that.



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She’s worked pretty much her whole adult life in the nursing home industry and has had to deal with plenty of death as a result. This one was different the way I understand it. I know I have loads of respect for anyone who can do what she does. I know I couldn’t go to work every day and take care of and get attached to people like she does, like all the good ones do. I’d shut down emotionally after losing a few, she’s built much stronger emotionally than I. 

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My Wife retired a yr and half ago from many many yrs of being Evening Nursing Supervisor in Long Term Care.  I can't remember all the  times she would come home and tell me one of her residents had passed.   The number of times they would pass minutes before her shift change also not countable in number but she would always stay for the of couple hrs it took to do everything that was needed to get it settled.  Many of the residents had become friends of hers and she was great with their families during the time of grief. 

I like Michael I never  understood how she could do this everyday with a smile  I tip my hat to these folks who can do it and thank the lord for them.  A far better person than I.  

They didn't talk about the "Reaper" but they had a big, long haired cat that would wonder the halls and if she landed on someone's bed and curled up they were about to go.  Other times she would sleep at the nurses station and watch people.  PS they had a number of cats over the years that did this job.   

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N. T. K.,

Those particular cats could sense when a patient was approaching death. In the last ten years there have been numerous reports that some dogs can do the same. (some of them were residents in the nursing homes).

I have not come across any article, in the science press, that offered a satisfactory explanation. Scent, sound, activity, etc. have been conjectured as the cause for that ability.

Many animals have an extraordinary kinesthetic ability. Many pet and livestock owners can attest to that. (including me).


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Give you wife a hug for me Michael she deserves it. I know I couldn't do her job, I get too attached to people, even the ones I don't much like. 

We have a furry angel name of Abby, I've posted enough pics of her I won't do it again. She was a born therapy and service dog. Deb learned about her healing powers when I was in the hospital. They had to keep me restrained 24/7 or I would've been gone. Where? Home if I could find it or not I wanted OUT. Deb finally convinced them to take me outside or at least out of the room. They wrapped me into a pink cocoon on a adjustable gurny thing and took me around. Then they took me out to a covered entrance so I could see Abby. 

Deb says Abby didn't recognize the big thrashing roll of pink sheets but when she got close enough to catch my scent she started nosing till she got to my leg. She stood there doing her whole body wag and much to the attendant's shock and fear I got a hand loose but instead of trying to unstrap myself I brailled Abby's head then started stroking her and said my first coherent words in weeks. I told her she was a good dog.

The next morning I came back from where ever I was and loved on Abby while the humans made a fuss. 

It didn't matter if I could see her and she's not a dog that gets on furniture so she tends to lay close by. I could tell if she were there see her or not, I just felt better. I hurt less, stress was down, I could think more clearly, etc. I just felt better. My doc gave Abby free reign in the hospital after he started getting requests from other sections. Evidently Deb was sharing Abby with other folk in need.

I've seen her do her thing many times and it leaves me in awe. She just goes to a person needing her and is WITH them. Folk in wheel chairs usually end up with her chin on their leg while they stroke her head though sometimes she leans gently against a leg or lays down on the floor with a child. I've seen her turn a crying child sick and in pain from Chemo into a giggling face full of smiles. I've seen her bring peace to disabled vets, on and on.

We had a half miniature doxy chihuahua name of Pocket who was a seizure dog, we just had to learn when she was telling us Isack was about to have one. Once we learned how to tell we saw her in action on other species, a couple goats and one human. 

We have a cat right now who will sit on the back of my chair and wash my head if I get too depressed or start feeling sorry for myself, I'm whiny more than depressed. Oh, Abby is Deb's med alert dog too. Mostly Abby can hear Deb's Iphone alarm when Deb can't but she'll pester Deb to take her meds if the alarm isn't around or not set.

So yeah, I have all the scientific evidence I need to know dogs, cats and who knows what else can sense changes in others and death is a pretty major change I'm not a bit surprised there are signs.

Frosty The Lucky. 

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