Over the next few weeks The Evening Sun and Hospice invite you to spend some time getting to know a few of the special people Hospice has cared for. These unique individuals live in Oxford, Pitcher, Norwich, Mount Upton, and South New Berlin. Each has been able to fulfill their wish to stay at home where they’re most comfortable because of the services Hospice provides. While their lives were lived in very different ways, their right to a dignified and comfortable end of life journey is very much the same.
Hospice hopes that the stories over the next few weeks will move you to support the “Friends of Hospice Campaign.” The funds raised are used to fill the 20% gap between reimbursement from Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies, and the actual cost of daily patient care. You can reach Hospice at 334-3556 or post your donation on the agency’s website at www.hospicechenango.org.
Arthur Ives – A Lesson in Optimism
Arthur Ives says his favorite time of day is morning, because that’s when a new day arrives and you can get up and get going. A pretty remarkable statement from someone who has throat cancer and ALS, is wheelchair bound, and is nourished via a feeding tube. Surely, this man is an optimist and could teach us all a thing or two.
Every morning for seventeen years Arthur was excited to get to BOCES where he taught agricultural and diesel mechanics. Education was a valued commodity in his family. His mother and many other relatives were teachers; his father attended Morrisville College; Arthur graduated from Cornell University; and he married an elementary school teacher, his wife of 57 years, Phyllis.
Hard work also seems ingrained in the man. He had many careers: BOCES teacher; owner of a milk hauling company; insurance agent - he wrote policy #1 for The Farm Family Insurance Company; Administrator of the County Airport; and commercial pilot at the age of forty.
Arthur and Phyllis become animated when reminiscing about their flying days. In addition to working for Mid State Aviation, Arthur owned a prop plane which allowed the couple freedom to travel at the drop of a hat. They visited Alaska, Arizona, and California; flew to New York City and Washington D.C after Arthur got home from school; and didn’t think twice about roundtrip jaunts to Martha’s Vineyard or Maine for a tasty lobster dinner, only to turn around and head home so they’d be ready to head off to work in the morning.
It took a lot to slow this man down. However, he has a motorized wheelchair and is looking for an adaptive van so he can get out of the house and fulfill his goal of getting to church on Sundays. He believes that his spirit will live on in others after his death, which makes those close to him very lucky people indeed. In the meantime, Arthur is still enjoying his mornings.