| This is Diane Stump. She is the home health nurse that comes by once a week to change the dressing on the PICC lines in my left arm. They are the replacement for the port I had implanted on the right side of my chest back in early June. They just have to have be flushed each night (I do that) and the dressing changed weekly (Diane does that).
Diane has become a member of our family in the few short months she has been coming in to take care of my arm. Tammy thinks she is the female me, and maybe she is, we both have the same sense of humor and temperment, I think, and Diane does her best to teach me manners. She simply just fits into our family.
She has come over on her own, off the clock, to just chat or more recently, to drop off cash donations folks have given her for the Toys for Tots effort the Gaggle is still working on. Tammy and I simply enjoy her company and we both are glad to see her whenever she is here. We both wish we could have met her years ago, and under better circumstances, but you play the hand your are dealt.
The hand I was dealt is not a good one to say the least. However, it is what I was given and I will do the best with what I have to work with. I'm not angry about it, I just would have preferred a few more decades to work with The Skyline Gaggle to raise money for the kids. The one good part of this hand I was dealt is how it allows you to meet people you would otherwise not get to meet. Diane is one of those people.
We have talked about my impending death, and the things Tammy and I are not sure about, and how things will work with Hospice and other things like that. Diane has been through all of this, and one day she plainly told us she planned on being by our side until the very end. Once I stop treatment, the PICC lines will be pulled out, and there will be no need for a home health nurse to come in. Diane said regardless of all of that, she wanted to be at our side as a friend. I know she could not tell, but I was crying like a baby on the inside.
I could not think of a better gift she could have ever given me or Tammy. She wanted to be at our side, my side, while I passed from life to death. While Tammy went from wife to widow. Knowing my wife will have someone like Diane at her side lifts such a weight off of my mind. Diane, with her compassion and her ability to cut thru the crap, is the perfect person to be at my side, and Tammy's side. It reflects on the type of person Diane is, and how much she cares for people, that care about other people.
Tammy and I are so grateful for Diane and I simply think of her as more than just a family friend. She is a family member, someone I care a lot about, and someone that I hope will be able to help Tammy and even other members of my family after I am gone.
Diane, you truly have changed my life for the better. I don't have long to live, but I know when my time is over, I will have you at my side, holding my hand, holding Tammy's hand and letting everyone know I died with dignity, grace and without sadness. Thank you so very much.