A History of House Calls

After decades of healing of ills wherever they occurred in a around Pittsburgh, PA, Doctor and Mrs. Dick Maley moved next door, three years ago. We didn’t become acquainted for a few months, but then, while walking MAX, Susan and Marie began brief visits. I had seen Dick a few times attempting to walk with his walker, but it wasn’t until I organized a small Gin Rummy game of cards, that we really became acquainted. Dick had a flourishing medical practice for years, specializing in ‘house calls’. That in itself was of interest. He had suffered a massive stroke, had a heart transplant and was just as step above ‘bedridden’. They had a grandson and his family that lived nearby, but for a few neighbor ladies and my Gin buddies, their social life consisted of a weekly trip to Pipi’s Cafe for Bingo. The card games originally were held in our Clubhouse, but when Dick joined, we met at their house. Marie would have a few snacks and drinks and for two-hours-or-so, she could have a break. Unfortunately, all of my players soon had other things to do, so it was just Dick and I left to continue our ‘friendly’ game of cards. I say ‘friendly’, but in actuality, they were very competitive. Dick’s rules evolved, resulting in him winning most hands. Whenever I won a hand, he would accuse me of ‘counting cards’ or being a Vegas ‘card shark’. Of course, neither was correct. I won mostly by luck, certainly not skill. After about a year of ‘Tuesday Cards’, Dick’s health was rapidly deteriorating and he was just not interested very much. Susan and Marie would visit, but since Dick simply slept in his lift-chair, I lost contact. A few months ago, Marie suggested that I come over some, just to visit. I did so once a week, but those visits were usually spent with him dozing. It was obvious that Dr. Dick Maley’s years of healing had taken a heavy toll. He and Marie(who is a nurse, herself) were avid golfers when they lived in Pittsburgh, but here in Charlotte, they played no more, even though we live within a stone’s throw of the Fourth Green of Highland Creek Golf Course. Susan would visit Marie some, and come home to say, “Dick is rapidly going down, you should go over just to say hello”. I did that a few times, but it hurt me to see how truly ill my friend was. Just over a month ago, Dick was placed on Hospice House Calls. A nurse would come three times each week to see to his needs. Two weeks ago, they were coming daily. Ten days ago, Dick fell and Marie called for help from our Firemen. Susan and I couldn’t understand why he was not allowed to move into a Hospice Hospital, but Marie said the medicare experts said he didn’t qualify since he wasn’t in pain. Their children are all in the medical profession and his son from Pittsburg came last week and he must have brought some heat. Yesterday, Marie couldn’t get Dick to respond. She called for medical emergency and along with her step-grandaughter and Hospise nurses, Dick Maley was taken to the Hospice Hospital around 2:00 yesterday afternoon. For days, Marie had pleaded for Hospice to allow Dick to be admitted. She had told us that she knew her husband was dying, but she didn’t want him to die at home. We were relieved for her when I say him taken away in the ambulance. Susan called her and could tell she was relieved to have him finally under hospital care. Just two hours later, Marie called to report my friend and neighbor passed away quietly at four o’clock. I will always have a warm spot in my heart for Dick Maley. He truly gave his life in service to others. My only regret is that after all those hours of playing cards, I had no opportunity to talk about eternal life. I did discover that Marie was raised Catholic and Dick attended a Presbyterian Church as a young man, but all they would say was while others spent time indoors at church, they spent time outdoors enjoying the beauty of a well-groomed golf course. The door to sharing testimony never opened, but I prayed daily for Dick and his family. The only redeeming factor is that my GOD is a Merciful, Loving GOD and in HIS MERCY and GRACE, he has taken my friend home. It is the only hope left. One thing I do know. It makes me more determined to share the HOPE within me, regardless. May GOD forgive my timidity and may GOD be with the Maley family in their time of grief. AMEN

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.