Habermans arrange hospice fund-raiser | PostIndependent.com

Habermans arrange hospice fund-raiser

Post Independent Photo/Kelley Cox

This is the fifth in a series following cancer patient Marcia Haberman and her family in their experiences with Roaring Fork Hospice.

BATTLEMENT MESA ” Tuesday morning, Marcia Haberman was standing on her patio, steadying herself with her walker, her daughter Suz Hutchinson at her side.

Marcia and Suz both had their eyes on a brindle-colored dog ” what looked to be a Labrador cross ” on the Habermans’ lawn.

“She’s been here since 6 this morning,” said Suz. “She just doesn’t want to leave. And she keeps wagging her tail.”

Suz and Marcia had called Garfield County Sheriff’s animal control deputy Aimee Chappelle, who pulled up to the curb as the dog sat in the grass. Suz walked over to Aimee as Marcia looked on.

“She just wants to be here. We don’t know who she is or where she’s from. Oh, I want to take her. I’ll probably adopt her if nobody claims her. I could call her Mudflap,” Suz said, referring to the dog’s mud-colored streaks, as she smiled and petted the dog.

Aimee gently put a collar and leash around the dog’s neck, ushered her into the back of her enclosed truck and took off towards Colorado Animal Rescue, Glenwood Springs’ animal shelter (see box).

“We just didn’t want her hurt running loose,” said Suz.

With the morning’s excitement winding down, Marcia pulled a metal patio chair into the sun and sat down on two layers of seat cushions, positioning a ball cap on her head to block the sun from hitting her directly in the face.

At Roaring Fork Hospice, the nurses and staff had all been informed that Marcia’s energy level had decreased over the past week. Marcia has terminal cancer, and has been a patient of Roaring Fork Hospice since February.

Marcia perked up as Molly Garland, one of the Roaring Fork Hospice nurses pulled up, got out of her car and made her way across the street to the patio. Molly gave Marcia a great big hug.

“I’ll take your vitals, OK?” Molly said, as she pulled up a chair next to Marcia.

The two talked quietly, discussing how the pain medication was making Marcia sleepy.

“I don’t like to feel confused,” Marcia told Molly.

“I completely understand,” Molly said. “We want you to be in the driver’s seat.”

The conversation shifted to birds ” sandhill cranes, condors, peregrine falcons.

“Those were the birds that were swooping each other the other day,” said Marcia, looking up at a couple of small birds flying around nearby.

“I think that’s called mating!” said Suz with a laugh.

Marcia watched the birds at the bird feeder, her feet in Reebok tennis shoes, propped up on her walker, scratching her arms.

“Marcia, your arms are so dry,” said Molly. “How about some lotion?”

Molly went into the house and returned with a big bottle of lotion, pumping out a big dollop and rubbing it gently into Marcia’s arms.

Roaring Fork Hospice director Tim Heflin was the next visitor to stop by the Habermans’ house Tuesday. He joined the rest of the group on the patio.

“Hospice has been quite an experience,” Marcia said to Tim. “It’s too bad people don’t understand what hospice is and what it can do for everyone involved.”

“With you opening up your life and home to us,” Tim said, referring to the article series the Haberman family agreed to, “I know your experiences will have meaning to others.”

“Well, the whole crew is absolutely fantastic,” Marcia said.

“I guess we have a real group of characters,” Tim said.

“The thing is that I can tell that you all genuinely like each other,” Marcia said. “I can tell.”

Marcia wanted to go to the Battlement Mesa Activities Center to show Tim and Molly a project she and Suz have been working on.

In early spring, Suz coordinated a greeting card project. Called “A Mile of Smiles,” Suz asked people near and far to send a funny card to her mom. All the cards ” about 400 at last count ” were placed on a long roll of butcher paper, run around and attached to the outside of the Habermans’ house a few weeks ago.

After that feat, Marcia said she wanted to share the cards with others, so the family donated the roll of cards to the activity center, where it now hangs.

Because Marcia and her family are so appreciative of Roaring Fork Hospice, they’ve arranged a fund-raiser for the local organization. People can adopt a favorite card and give a donation to hospice.

Marcia led Molly and Tim into the center, walker and all, on Tuesday.

“How much have we made, dear?” she asked Battlement Mesa Activities Center director Anne Huber.

“So far, nearly $500,” Anne answered. “People thoroughly enjoy having these cards here. Even the lifeguards come out from the pool area on their break, to read these cards and smile.”

With Marcia’s body continuing to feel the effects of the cancer, Suz said most of her family members ” her four sons, plus Suz and husband Chuck ” were in the process of collecting at their parents’ house this week.

Marcia and Chuck’s 50th anniversary is Saturday. Suz said she thought her mom might be focusing her energy towards that special day.

Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518


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