James Colbert has worked with many of us before but came to Envoy in February 2012. When he first met and was interviewed by Karen Britzky RN, Pt. Care Manager, he announced that he would be her best aide and that she would want to hire him. Time has definitely proven that to be true.
One of our first Envoy patients was a gentleman named “Dusty”. Dusty was not very sociable and was living alone in a small seniors apartment. James began to take care of Dusty and soon a strong bond developed between the two. James recognized that Dusty was extremely lonely and found common ground with him through the enjoyment of playing video games. James soon began staying to play games after hours and on weekend visit, just to improve his quality of life.
Then, along comes Mr. McD a veteran of WWII who was also known as the “kissing sailor” from the famous Time Life photograph. Once again, James caring spirit enabled a special bonding with Mr. McD. He and James soon began to develop a father/son relationship. James spent evenings and weekends watching sports of every type with him. Sometimes they would go out to eat, or during weekend visits they would just stay in and talk. When James had questions about life and how to handle situations Mr McD mentored him. Through his act of friendship James gave Mr. McD a purpose in life. Their bond continued to grow. Mr McD was so close to James his daughter would also call him if she had any concerns, or just to share information.
When Mr. McD was notified that he was to be honored for his WWII service at a ceremony in San Antonio. The family asked James to go with them and attend the ceremony. There was only one problem, Mr. McD did not want to fly, and once again James came through and drove Mr. McD to San Antonio. The two shared a hotel room, and James was present as he received his award. By now James is very much a part of the family.
Mr. McD enjoyed gambling and had asked his daughter and James to take him to WinStar on a few occasions. Extremely early one weekend morning Mr. McD phoned his daughter and James and told them they needed to get up and go now to WinStar, he needed to gamble. The two got up, picked up Mr. McD and went to WinStar. After enjoying several hours of gambling, Mr. McD suddenly collapsed, appearing to have a heart attack. WinStar phoned 9-1-1 and he was taken to the hospital. James and his daughter met him at the hospital, where the daughter explained his condition and wishes. Mr. McD was then allowed to be driven back home with James and his daughter. Mr. Mc D passed away later during the night.
There is no doubt that Mr. McD had planned to spend his last hours on earth enjoying time with the two most important people in his life.
Certainly, James suffers a loss when he bonds with people whose time is limited. He has had many previous patients like these, and still continues to form bonds with patients today. I cannot begin to remember all the names of the men that James has cared for but I am sure James can tell you each one. James hospice heart is so sincere that even though he knows he will suffer emotional loss, it does not deter him from his mission; forming a friendship that offers mutual respect and caring during that person’s most precious time of life.
For all these reasons and more James personifies Envoy Hospice.