This blog was originally posted 1/31/2016. You can read the original and the comments here:
Today I repost this this blog with an incredibly heavy heart. My sweet cousin Connie was taken from us suddenly yesterday 2/6/2019 very early in the morning. This blog post was an interview with Connie about her job at CareFirst as a hospice nurse.
Allow me to tell you a little about her as I think of her now and will always think of her. Connie was a lot like her mom, my Aunt Barb. My Aunt Barb loved people BIG. Connie did too especially her family. She came from a large family and was always posting pictures of time with her siblings, nieces and nephews on social media. She was a loyal friend who wouldn't leave at the first sign of trouble. I don't think there are enough words to say how beautiful her soul was in this life.
Connie and I reconnected through facebook. We shared our faith in Christ, love of family, and desire to help the underserved. In truth Connie was the more dynamic of the two of us. When I was diagnosed with POTS syndrome and had some bad days Connie said: "You're tough Vel, you have an inner strength and spirit." And sometimes of course, she'd give me a nudge when I was having a bit of a pity party. She made me laugh and tried protect me from people and things she knew wouldn't be good for my health.
I think she always did have an instinct for knowing when people were in pain but it wasn't until she became a nurse that she was really able to use that very powerful instinct. Connie knew the power of life because she faced death as a hospice nurse. She never actually said it but you knew from talking to her that death wasn't the enemy, refusing to value your life, that was the enemy. When we concluded writing the blog below she wrote this: "I was thrilled that you asked Vel. It is so rewarding caring and loving for folks who are going thru this. Remember the fella I saw yesterday? He passed last nite. I was able to show him some love, touch his arms and face and tell him the good Lord was ready for him and it was okay to leave." This is the Connie I'll remember. Always.
Because Connie is no longer with us, obviously this project is not ongoing however, I hope after reading today's blog all you crocheters, sewists, and knitters will take the time to contact a local hospital, nursing home, hospice, veterans hospital, homeless or battered spouse shelter about donating slippers. Connie would love knowing that this blog created action on behalf of those most vulnerable in our society.
Thank you for bearing with me. Now the blog:
I have the pleasure today of writing about my cousin Connie Kraft who is a hospice nurse. Connie is the cousin closest to me in age. Her mother Barbara is my mother's sister. We grew up in a family centered around visits at holidays, lots of hugs, and the love for my sweet grandmother Iola Riopelle Foreman who passed along the gentle art of knit and crochet. Connie has followed in her mom's footsteps in becoming a nurse caring for those who are underserved. In Connie's case hospice nursing. Connie came to me with a project idea and I knew it was an idea that all of you would appreciate and get behind.
Connie is very loyal to those under her care. She is a professional who worked very, very hard to earn her nursing degree. We're very proud of her accomplishment. She rarely feels that she can impose on me to ask for my assistance so when she asked me to help her I knew it was important. What she wanted seemed so simple... slippers but let me tell you about her passion in her own words. The following is an interview I did with Connie this past week.
Me: How long have you been working at CareFirst Connie?
CEK: 3 wks
Me: What gave you the idea to make slippers for the hospice patients?
CEK: After visiting some of the patients in this cold weather, I felt like it would be a nice gesture to provide them with something that would comfort them
Lyn, I've been caring for "comfort care" patients in the hospital for years as well as my own parents. I took my daddy thru to his passing at home. (Connie's dad James Kraft died at home with the love of his family after working for years in asbestos)
Me: As a nurse dealing with end of life decisions is nothing new to you. Little things mean a lot to your patients don't they? Can you tell us about any thing else you think knitters and crocheters can do for CareFirst? Ease, comfort, warmth, security are all important when creating a garment for patients. I've learned this through making items for friends going through chemo therapy.
CEK: Just a loving touch for these folks or someone to take the time to ask is there anything I can do right now that will make your day better. (*Connie mentioned to me in another conversation how patients families would also appreciate a personal note sent with the slippers)
Me: What else would you say we can make for CareFirst. We talked about shawls, hats, and perhaps lap blankets?
CEK: Yes, that's lovely. We have some lap blankets that are more like quilts. (*we talked about wheelchair shawls also)
Me: We will be making bootie style slippers that come up over the ankle such as these http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php? id=4790&cid=17 http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=6193&cid=17 But YOU will be placing the non-skid to the underside of the booties correct?
CEK: Absolutely, I will do that.
Me: What is the one big thing you would like people to know about hospice care in general.
CEK: It's all about the patient. Their comfort and dignity. We take a holistic approach. We are staffed by RN's, LPN's , social workers and pastoral care. It's important to keep them in their homes. It's helpful if the family is their to tend to the patient. If not we can place them in a nursing home and provide hospice care. We like to control the pain and make sure they are breathing easy. We are not going to fix them. They are only going to get worse and it is up to us to care for the patient and the family.
Me: Thanks Connie for taking the time to do this interview with me. I'm sure my readers will find this a really great way to reach out. Thanks for what you do, especially for those who are in hospice care!
CEK: I was thrilled that you asked Lyn. It is so rewarding caring and loving for folks who are going thru this.
Me: LOVE YOU!
CEK: You are special.
This concludes the interview. We rarely conclude anything without telling each other how important they are to us :)
So do you want to help? Its a fantastic opportunity to reach out to someone who needs just a touch of love. I'm not going to ask you to sign up or anything because I know some of you, like me, would just prefer to donate quietly without a lot of pressure or fanfare. So here's what we'd like Boot style slippers that come up OVER the ankle in worsted, chunky, or bulky weight easy care acrylic or soft washable wool yarn. From a smoke free home. The yarns should NOT be scratchy on those fragile feet. Remember things like "Red Heart TLC" or Simply soft are lovely but very slippery so please just use a non-scratchy yarn. ie: Vanna's Choice, Caron One Pound, Lion Brand Pound of Love in the worsted weight. For Bulky weight Wool Ease thick and Quick or Red heart Grande. If you have a question about the "scratch" factor you can check out http://www.knitting-warehouse.com/ One of my favorite places to buy yarns. Next to each yarn there is a "Scratch Scale" that shows how each yarn feels next to the skin. I also love the http://www.yarnfactoryoutlet.com/e-tent
Patterns? Yes I have a list here of tried, tested, and proved patterns.
Remember these are for both men and women sometimes just adding an extra round our two will add enough length.
http://www.bevscountrycottage.com/seniors.html Bev has made sure all of these patterns work for use with the elderly and with those who are ill.
Thank you for taking the time to read about this project. Please join me in helping give a little comfort. Include a card for the families in your package. It will mean the world to them at this time!
**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.