Special people are called to do special work.
Caye Gregory is one of those special individuals who enjoys talking with people and listening to their stories. As a patient companion at the Wayne T. Patrick Hospice House, Caye volunteers her time each Thursday to visit patients and chat with them.
“I love it when I can see patients brighten when they tell me about themselves,” said Caye. “Several years ago I sat with a lady who loved pork rinds. So the next week when my day to volunteer came, I brought a bag of pork rinds and we sat and talked about gardening. She was quite an accomplished gardener. I love flowers and I love gardening. She taught me a lot.”
According to Caye, she has volunteered for four or five years now. “I was between volunteer jobs, and I came to a training session here at Hospice. So I volunteered here at the Wayne T. Patrick Hospice House. It is a beautiful facility, the staff are always happy and friendly, and the patients get the care they need promptly.”
“I am happy to talk about whatever our patients want to talk about. I go in and ask, and sometimes they say no and that’s ok too,” said Caye. “It’s a good experience for me because it takes me outside myself. I have never had a problem thinking about other people, their lives.”
A great deal of thoughtfulness goes into Caye’s work. She often researches patients’ interests so she can bring interesting articles to discuss. “I collect travel articles, gardening articles, books, even sports news which I know very little about. I go in talking and people respond.”
“One time I had a Navy Vet who served in Vietnam during the same time as my husband, and we had a great talk. It is a time to reminisce, to get in touch.”
“I enjoy coming and I stay if someone needs me. I am not a doctor, nurse, minister or trained counselor. So there is some freedom that comes with my visits, time for them to relax and just visit in their space.
“I go to their room and tell them I am here Thursdays if they feel like chatting. They are free to talk to me about anything,” said Caye. “Patients will thank me for coming and, if they are there for several weeks, they often ask me to come back. It is really rewarding when I do visit and someone else is there with them and they say ‘they told me about you.’”
“These are perfect strangers. They may be in pain and in an unusual position. To me, they are just people and we are not going to talk about illness, pain, or end of life. We are just going to chat.”