I remember a patient on the AIDS unit whose mother arrived too late. She was traveling by bus, because she was afraid of planes. But he died before she could get to San Francisco.
We put a sign on his door, “See Nurse Before Entering!” When she arrived, a doctor took her into the room and sat with her and the body. We could hear her crying.
Afterwards, she walked down to the visitor’s lounge. Ricky, homeless and only 18, was on the couch watching television. He was the youngest patient with AIDS I’d ever met.
The mom sat down next to him and they began to talk. After a few hours, she left — but she returned the next day, and the day after that.
By the end of the week, funds had been raised for two airline tickets. Ricky had assured her that flying was safe, and she was taking him home.