Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Shared Story

Martha's note:
 This sweet story about an Ombudsman going the extra mile came this week in an e-mail note from Elysse Thiery, who's publicist for Charlottesville's JABA (Jefferson Area Board for the Aging)--an organization that, in my opinion, does a lot of quiet good. The job description of a JABA Ombudsman states that they will work with patients, their families and their facilities to protect that patient's rights. Ombudsman Eleanor Kroeger obviously thought her job as an Ombudsman entailed a bit more.

I am cheered by stories of small kindnesses and thought you might be as well, so I asked and got permission to post Eleanor's story. And I left the JABA contact informatin at the bottom in case you should feel moved to get involved.

Have a lovely weekend, all. Keep those radios tuned to WMRA, our public radio station!
Eleanor's Story
On a visit to my nursing home, I found that the wife of a resident was having a particularly difficult day. Her husband had recently suffered yet another stroke and the doctor informed her that his condition had definitely declined. She sat in his darkened room and was crying. I sat with her awhile then asked her if there was something I could do for her. I asked her, “How about a cup of tea? That always helps me when I am upset. I like it with a slice of lemon, how about you?”

The lady, a British war bride of many years ago, looked at me and said, “You Yanks don’t know how to make a proper cup of tea.”

I excused myself and headed toward the nursing supervisor’s office. I told her that his lovely woman would really like a “proper cup of tea.” I suggested that a plastic-foam cup and a tea bag were not what I had in
mind. The nurse stood right up and said to follow her downstairs to the kitchen storage room. There she produced a lovely china tea service, which we quickly assembled complete with a charming cup, saucer, milk pitcher, sugar and a small plate of cookies, along with boiling (not merely hot) water.

I took the tray back to the room and asked the lady if she would be so kind as to teach me how to make a “proper cup of English tea.” She took the service and proceeded to show me how to make and serve the tea. We drank two cups and had a nice chat. She mentioned where her home was in England and it so happened my husband and I had visited that town while we were on a tour of England. It gave her great pleasure and for
just a few moments she was home again.

I thanked her for her kindness and left. As I walked away from her room I had the feeling that even if I could not help him, I had helped her that day.

To learn more about the Volunteer Ombudsman program contact Beth Hochstetler, Volunteer Ombudsman Specialist, at 817-5271 or email her at

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