Elsy stayed at her son’s bedside in our Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, day and night. José, 18, had a fatal genetic disorder often accompanied by heart problems. No matter how sick Jose felt, he always seemed to smile.
The more time I spent with Elsy, the more I learned about her family’s situation. Her older son had supported the family until earlier in the summer when an accident left him severely disabled. Going home to check on him was the only time she left José’s bedside. With her older son unable to work, she struggled to pay her rent.
When I got the medical update that Jose would not live much longer, I redoubled my efforts to find them help. I saw relief and joy on Elsy’s face when I told her a donation would enable us to help pay her rent for three months. This enabled her to put off the worries of the moment and make the most of the time she had left with her son. It gave me, as a social worker, a back-up plan for a family in dire need. It also reminded me of why I love my job.
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