They are in there Somewhere

Posted by Rachel Y. Hill on

I love being the owner of a company that has been impacting lives for almost 4 years now.  I am humbled that I have the opportunity to reach that many more.  I am grateful that this blog allows me to give credit where credit is due. I thank my creator, and the tapestry of my life, that I am guided to weave every day.  Of course I shared that my son (Lil' Chan) was the original reason I began exploring aromatherapy and herbal remedies, but the "Hen and Moon" path has led me down a road of purpose that I find tremendously challenging and beautiful at the same time.  The challenge and beauty of memory disorders is real and hits home for me, closer than what you know.                                                                                      
March 11, 2015 was when I made my first batch of oil (PRESENCE) for an integrative hospice and palliative care organization.  That day changed my life and helped me to engage with my patients in a more authentic way, because they became the platform for my exploration and them experiencing my products. I was able to touch them with my oils.  When I mention "them" I mean hospice patients and patients that have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, Dementia, and other cognitive disorders.  Once upon a time, I would care for my patients, interact with their families, call a few doctors, do my job, and go home.  That was good, but that wasn't the best I could do.  This was what I knew at the time and now I know that my experience with them can now be much more fulfilled. I didn't know what I was missing until I created "Hen and Moon" with my business partners.
Without dwelling on the nature of disease, the impact of the disorders on family, friends, and the patients themselves, I want to share a few "breakthrough" stories for why I love using oils and aromatherapy with clients and patients with dementia. I started my business in the hospice setting, because I wanted to provide calm that medications may not be able to achieve.  When I visit,  I talk to them whether they respond or not.  Sometimes I wonder if I talk too much.  I touch my patients, therapeutically, with my products.   Whether they can respond or not, I don't mind. Very seldom I get a smile, a comment, or even a thank you to know that gift-offering was received.  However, what matters most to me is being there, being totally accepting, and being the healing environment that allows each individual to be whomever or whatever they can be.                                                         
I was nursing before dinosaurs became extinct, so my breakthrough stories are numerous.  The first story that I can recall and will never forget is my experience with a woman I will call Jean.  I had been seeing Jean for about 6 months before she died.  She was diagnosed with End-Stage Dementia.  My weekly ritual with her was going to do my nursing visit, maybe helping to feed her, taking her back to her room to assess her, and giving her a light massage.  Jean never spoke, but I talked to her like she was my best friend.  One day my son had a baseball game.  I explained to her that I had to leave and go to my son's game. I went on to tell her that I would try not to embarrass him too much, cheering for his team.  As I was almost out the door, she yelled out "don't go!" I was shocked and turned around and asked her "Why not Jean, why can't I go?"  She looks up at me and says "because I love you."  I was in shock.  The staff was in shock.  Jean hadn't talked in over a year.  Needless to say, I stayed 30 extra minutes because I was so honored that she was "in there somewhere" and had come out to be with me.         
The next story, let's call this patient John, brings a smile to my face whenever I think of it.  I have been following him over 8 months.This is a similar experience where there was no verbal communication from this patient on an ongoing basis.  However, he was limited to saying two words.  "I'm dying."  I would say how are you doing today Mr. John.  If he answered, he would say, "I'm dying."  One day I asked him how he was doing.  He said, "I'm dying".  I was making small talk to him and didn't really think that I would get a response from him at all, let along ever.  I began to tell him that every he tells me he is dying, I come back the next week.  "Mr. Jones what's the opposite of dying, if you are talking to me.  You have to be living don't you?  The next week came and I commenced providing wound care to him.  "How you doing Mr. Jones?" I asked with no thought of receiving any logical answer.  "I'm living."  I about fainted right then and there.  I asked him again, "How are you doing Mr. John?"  He replied, "I'm living!"                                         
He got a little base in his voice and yelled it again.  "I'm living." My co-worker and I watched in amazement, as tears came from his eyes and he smiled for the first time I had been with him.  We danced and we cheered with him like we had been the first to learn of his new discovery the he was ALIVE!"  I have to add this last bit of my story.  A few weeks later when I went to visit him, his wife was a little upset.  She has dementia also and they have been able to stay together.  I asked her what was upsetting her.  Mr. John blurts out, "she's mad because you always see me naked."  Who was I to argue.  I have been managing his wound care on his buttock for quite some time.  I couldn't say anything at all to that and... I couldn't laugh either, because I didn't want his wife to take offense.  It was so funny to me, because his personality had peered it's little jester's head.  My laughter would be from the joy of him being able to have memory recall, processing, and other cognitive skills that had been thought to be long gone by everyone.  Now when I see Mr. John, he will sometimes wink and whistle songs he remembers (even if I can't recognize them).                                                               
I call these stories "breakthrough stories" because the person that was inside finds a way to come out sometimes, and usually when we least expect.  To me, these are mini miracles for me that I don't take lightly.  Was it my products that stimulated them?  I would like to think so.  Hen and Moon is magical.  Was it my glowing personality.  That could be a determining factor in this equation. Honestly, I believe that there are space we pass through and share.  In these spaces there is sacredness where we find common ground in our hearts, and this is wear me meet. This isn't like drinking Unicorn Juice, but I really believe it is better.
If I didn't have a reason to touch them before, it was very clear that these beautiful people may be missing something that they can't even articulate they are missing.  Sometimes they might go days, weeks, or months without a touch or meaning connection, because the belief is that "nobody's home".  But when that magical, miracle moment presents itself, I want to be there.  If I can't be there, hopefully there is a caregiver or a family member who is using my products and leaving a legacy of love and human compassion.