Harriet Thompson, Mollie Mana'o, and Nora Nielsen

Recorded August 7, 2018 Archived August 25, 2018 38:04 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: lsk002065


Harriet Thompson (96) speaks with her friend and chaplain, Mollie Mana'o (44) about how they first met when Harriet had come into hospice, her recovery from cancer and their ongoing friendship.


  • Harriet Thompson
  • Mollie Mana'o
  • Nora Nielsen

Venue / Recording Kit

Partnership Type

Fee for Service


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00:01 My name is Harriet Thompson. I'm 96 years old. Today's date is August 7th 2018 at Mount Saint Vincent and my relationship to Partners friend.

00:19 My name is Molly Rick Minato. I am 44 today is August 7th 2018 and we are at Mount Saint Vincent and I am talking with my friend.

00:34 But she says more than friend so we can get into that.

00:40 How did we meet?

00:44 You came into my room.

00:47 When I was here when it was first here. I was brought in Mount Saint Vincent in hospice. I was supposed to be dying.

01:00 And Molly came in.

01:04 So this was over 5 years ago that now and I am a Hospice chaplain and. Was assigned to me when she came on Hospice Services. And so what what led you to being on hospice?

01:22 Like why did they say you were dying of cancer when she was there?

01:28 Chemo all the way radiation all the way and then something happened in my head and my body and I didn't know what it was and I know I was out of it found out later. It was called chemo fall out chemo brain.

01:48 That lasted about 6-8 months.

01:54 So I'm seeing the face. Making kind of a angry face and I'm remembering that's that's one of the things that I remember when I met you is that you were very honest with me. I think that's part of what drew me to you because you and you told me that you were mad.

02:15 Gary angry apparently if I did I don't remember a lot of that after I came out of this month later. I was going around apologizing to everybody. I know how I can be and I know how I must have been but I don't remember a lot of it.

02:37 So somehow we you weren't you weren't you weren't mean to me cuz you don't have to apologize to me. So I remember we hit it off pretty well from the beginning.

02:50 Me too. That's part of it. And there were some of them were coming in to me. And why ain't you?

03:01 Change my thoughts and my passport very nice then is that my sexual okay?

03:13 And you were one that didn't try to change me you went along with me.

03:22 And now I think I probably even if I'm if I know me, I probably tried to add you on to be nasty so I can come back at you. Probably that sounds like you.

03:46 Yeah around here. I'm still the one you're pointing at and saying she's the one that beat hospice.

03:58 And you helped it.

04:02 The one at one of the things I remember about you is you had a birthday not too long after you came on hospice and I remember congratulating you and you must have your 91 if it was 5 years ago that we meant and

04:19 You actually weren't that impressed by it being your 91st birthday. And you instead told me that you were celebrating trimmer if it was 51 years that you had another birthday that was more important to you. Absolutely. What was that birthday about my sobriety date June 12th, 1962, and I haven't had to take a drink of alcohol since

04:45 And yet I keep putting their yet on there too, because I had stories were people did I have 56 years now alcohol not passing. I can't say Do not pass my lips for that first year, it would pass my lips a couple times, but I was able to spit it out. In fact the second time it was

05:09 Chocolate

05:11 No, it's called something else. But anyway, it's like fudge frosting on ice cream. Okay? Yeah, something's you just drop it in and not the good stuff is I would rather handle spoon and I got a real. I mean, I got a mouth full of it and I spit it out in my baby's room and put soap in my mouth and switch that around and and I didn't want to ask in my body. So anyway in the first year private for 6 months, I was in the program.

06:04 Microgram

06:07 And I've been there ever since.

06:10 That's one of the other things I remember about you is that you had a lot of visitors who came to see you and I think and I think the majority of these were people that you had been a sponsor for quite a few friends with friends from Friends through the program you were in but then also people you would sponsored you a lot and really cared for you.

06:37 And I care for them help each other.

06:46 Lavendou work for a lot of them, but they do.

06:52 Twerk for me.

06:57 So I'm curious and I told you I was going to ask you this. But what changed for you and you went from when I first met you you you wanted to die. You had really resigned yourself to.

07:12 To that you were going to die and you wanted to die and you were you were completely bed-bound for a number of months completely bed-bound and

07:27 And something changed for you and you decided you were going to live.

07:32 You're part of it.

07:35 You're part of it.

07:38 Nick and sister Sue tweet Catholic boy he was

07:55 What was his deal here in this neighborhood manager? Yeah.

08:02 And then and then a Catholic nun. None of you even though I haven't had a drink in 50 years or whatever it was and

08:20 People still look down if I say that's what I said on that that little piece of paper. I have an alcohol sober alcoholic woman today.

08:33 And have been for a long time.

08:36 And I hope I stay that way.

08:39 People you around I will.

08:43 Turn red.

08:49 So you had to do a lot of work to get from being completely bed-bound to being up on your feet and Steve.

09:03 I don't think I knew his last name, but he was a physical therapist.

09:15 Wheelchair they got he got me up in a wheelchair first. You got me out of bed. So I could learn how to get out of bed and stand try to stand up and then then they took me over there physical therapy and he's going to

09:33 And he's oh hi. We never see how you stand up today and I see you got someone else's I haven't stood up for a long time. And now I'm good bounding. Yes.

09:56 Then I did yesterday.

10:00 And he's come on we'll we'll see here and he actually physically lifted me out of that wheelchair. He said she didn't but I think that's the way I see it and then the other guy was behind me with my wheelchair with blue it up a little ramp in the night and I'm still hollering at him and I mean hollering would she want you to stand up for 3 seconds? And I know my feet were dangling, you know, and then and then and I were the clock was here and I was watching this in 4 seconds and I said, okay, okay and then all of a sudden he nodded to

10:54 I think it's name is g r or something behind me to drop me and and he did literally drop me into that wheelchair and he's all you did great. You did for whole minute 67 whole minutes, and I'm just speechless and that's for me.

11:18 And then he said we'll see you tomorrow.

11:21 They treated me away.

11:24 You know still screamed at we had the wrong person by step with him and he stuck with me. He knew he knew how to handle people and just real cute too. So that helps that wasn't thinking about that business. He knew what my thoughts were, but I remember how I felt about him and I give God all the credit, but I talked to Jesus.

12:06 Jesus is more real to me that God is God is God is too big and but Jesus is just right.

12:15 Remember you always had met this little picture by your bedside table saw a little bit of doubt that you want me to tell you how I became real friendly with him. He was in the movie. It was in a movie back in the fifties. It was a lot of books out there into about Jesus and whole bunch of stuff Netflix movie when he comes into the town into the temple and the temple is being used for money lenders and stuff like that what that was all to prove her to me.

13:02 Gamblers and all that stuff, you know and and Jesus when you cancel and started kicking over tables and chairs and just so he just raised hell in there and that made him real to me that made him real to me. He's a person he's a person. Whatever that is, and I remember one meeting I went to after I've been in the program maybe six months to a year and I was still ticked off at God.

13:39 I was raised Lutheran Catholics. I was baptized I was confirmed I was all that stuff and read the Bible a lot, but I was ticked off at God and his meeting went to a couple of steps and full of it, you know, and now and then instead of lying I just the truth came right out of me. I don't want to hear anymore this God.

14:16 Chef and the little guy across the table from me stood up and he leaned across too many zooz, honey. If you don't like the word God put another over in it.

14:28 He had me. I knew that I was trying to be a better person a bitter person, you know, and I've been a pretty good person quit drinking to take away guys.

14:42 I wanted to sometimes it was still stay me the same things were happening to me and all that kind of stuff, but there was something and I called God and Jesus kept me from it and stubbornness. Thank God for stubbornness, you know that, you know that and it sure was using for me. I don't Never Shout Never bulshit at you know, I remember the terrible hallucinations.

15:18 It took a lot of people you're one of them Nick. That's what you are too. But you're also my kind of people.

15:38 Some people even living here wouldn't believe how I'm talking about this.

15:45 But that's part of what I like about you. I think that's part of how we connected is your real Ness and your stubbornness.

15:53 Yeah, and your feistiness can't believe still that you.

16:03 They kind of gave up and just decided you were going to lie in bed.

16:08 4 months based on who I know now and I think I always saw that in you. I don't understand it myself, but I'm grateful even when I'm angry.

16:23 Normal, Philly

16:33 But that's only happened a couple times. I don't want to be around people cuz I might hate them.

16:39 No, but feel like it in alrest terrible feeling.

16:46 But the real feel just happened like it used to.

16:52 What do you think changed?

16:55 That you don't have those feelings as much as you used to be came out.

17:02 If you been part of me, that's a good part of me still here.

17:12 And I think we all have those.

17:21 Human beings we all need people that we can actually show all those sides to

17:29 And I know you're one of those people that I could be real with your friends.

17:42 Well, you knew where they did sure.

17:47 God yeah.

17:49 I have not been for a lot of them have been busy since his drug business, you know.

18:00 I had a chance to but I didn't do it because I was afraid of that kind of stuff.

18:08 I used to be full Mansion stories.

18:11 Stories about the

18:16 What was opium dance places in?

18:25 Layers of beds apart Springs and that they could imagine being in one of those.

18:39 At least I'm sure there were times when I was doing something. I didn't know I was doing

18:45 Under the influence of alcohol.

18:50 I'm sure.

18:57 But I don't drink anymore and I don't want anything in my head itch change it even like when somebody gives me.

19:16 Pills medication you can have a completely different effect on me supposed to have

19:28 WWE watch it

19:31 Index temperature some of that now

19:38 But I know it now. That's another thing when you took a drink or take a pill and you don't know what you're doing.

19:47 That nobody else knows it. You know that all criminy. Anyway, that's enough of that crap.

19:56 You be real you be who you are.

20:04 One of their memory I want to share is about.

20:09 The first time I saw you walking.

20:12 Because when you decided to do rehab you had to come off Hospice Services, so you had we graduated you in part because

20:24 Your prognosis changed and all of a sudden you had a much longer prognosis and in part a lot because of the changes in your outlook. I'm in because you decided that you wanted to walk again. And so in order to do rehab you had to come off our services and so that meant I was kind of how I got to casually see you in our relationship changed, but you aren't on my visit list anymore cuz you weren't my my client anymore. But I remember that I was sitting in the cafeteria. Actually. I think I might have been sitting with sister Sue having a cup of coffee and then I remember and I don't know how many months it was that you had been doing rehab regularly. And you had I'm trying to think if you'd already moved over to the Assisted Living side you moved out of the skilled nursing side.

21:16 Longer term care, but you came in from the Assisted Living side cuz I remember where I was sitting and you came in with your wheeled walker and you walk towards us and

21:35 Remember seeing you and I kind of I jumped up on my feet and I actually started to cry cuz I was so excited to see you up walking. And remember if you let go of your Walker and you did this little dance we were both kind of laughing and crying at the same time. And you know for me working in hospice. It is a rare thing to see someone make a recovery like you mean sometimes people graduate from hospice, but it's usually more because they've stabilized and they aren't declining anymore. But but I did it is rare to ever see somebody make kind of a reversal and get better and actually move from being in skilled nursing and bed-bound all the way over to

22:23 You know, they're having their own apartment in Assisted Living. I mean when you came when you came on service like you got rid of your apartment and all your stuff that you would had out in the community because in your mind cuz you were going to die and that's what the doctor said told you and that's what you believed. That's the doctor didn't tell me. My doctor didn't tell me he just sent me away.

22:46 I'm still pissed off at him.

22:49 Well, he had to at some point. He had to sign paperwork saying that he thought you had six months or less for you to come on hospice. So however that conversation went schedule.

23:08 Point in your own mind where you decided that you were going to live and recover. I mean, what do you distribute that turn around? It has to be when I came out of that chemo fog chemo brain.

23:26 And whether that was the chemo or the radiation or what it was I told myself to all my stuff with Ian and stuff and everything, but I can do it and some guys are good music going on down there and I didn't get a chance with him.

23:56 What did it for me? Would you ask me for the turning point was it has to be when I came off? I remember when I started being able to think straight for a little bit at a time. I got to go back to that where I was.

24:12 It has to be in there someplace. We had Turning Point came when I could off all of a sudden trying to get out of that bed trying to move roll over in bed by myself and then get my feet on the floor without falling and she put that on there. I hadn't had to hang on to that. I have no strength left in my body. I've been laying flat.

24:48 That was when I came out of the drugs.

24:51 Did drugs through whatever they were giving me God only knows.

24:56 And numb

24:58 Internet cable for chemo brain

25:01 There's a couple of Mercier here that have seen it on other people.

25:07 And I certainly wasn't me. I wasn't me part of me was me, but I don't know about it.

25:15 Do you understand what I'm saying? I never knew what I was going to be like I did and I don't much care of whatever he was taken away from me. I had no strength. I had no say over how I was going to be.

25:34 Something people are afraid of me.

25:43 But that's okay. It was probably hurting me when it's 25 ever came a bad time.

25:50 Find a way back. I didn't buy bedtime. Well, you were also very vulnerable.

25:57 That was scary to some of the horrible hallucinations I had but I have that.

26:12 Facility in me to not remember some of the bad stuff. It just happened to be in my life. I started come out of it and

26:20 Sun

26:23 You know and I think that's a blessing. I'm very very blessed by a lot of stuff. I was very blessed. Before I came in here.

26:32 Today, I want to brush my teeth came down and troubled and ice.

26:48 Call Milwaukee.

26:57 I'll go get her again.

27:00 You continue to love and many times since I've been in this building.

27:06 Why didn't you let me die and why am I here what I used to be a counselor, and I'm still Counseling in the morning sometimes and I feel like I'm going to get up and go to work.

27:23 Well, yeah, and I have one of my things is about getting some of these older people to at least smile.

27:32 Me and my pony we're going down the hallway and we see some nobody knew especially and you know going around and long faces and I get along side of him. I said hey you want to race?

27:48 What what what younger than I am, but they're so old and Becky bedroom until I get a smile and I tell him so and then next time they see me.

28:07 Play Shape the shape up a smile.

28:12 Bears growling do it again.

28:16 But you that's why I'm here. That's why I believe that is why God wants me still alive cuz I'm still useful someplace.

28:28 Show called I'm just a store called religious people in here. It don't think I'm useful for anything.

28:39 And I don't care cuz they don't know.

28:44 They don't know and I don't have to tell him I don't have to prove it to everybody who I am and what I am.

28:51 Just another person.

28:53 God giving God made me God keeping me alive all these years.

29:04 What up? I was 39 when I quit drinking.

29:08 I should have died. I should have been.

29:13 And I didn't.

29:16 Are you going to kick?

29:20 I still think it's real funny sometimes.

29:23 You know.

29:27 Who can explain that why I am still alive from 39. I was supposed to die.

29:37 You should know what that work for you to do get lonely lady.

29:44 Yeah.

29:47 Crazy

29:51 When I would say you found your calling.

29:54 It was given to him. It was how long did Ian to me to choose it? It's a calling and what was a horrible thing like your alcoholism for you to be able to minister yet. I believe they're not here for so many.

30:25 And he still has you said well, you know, I'll tell you the difference between certain.

30:32 Protestant

30:34 Religions

30:36 I didn't find out until I was in my forties when I checked it out that that little Lutheran Church very strict and I was 7 years old.

30:59 I remember one Sunday school teacher story out of the Bible and then and she should High squeaky voice God. I hated we know why but she has a little circle and light colors come down one light cord coming down with the ball on it. We were in the basement and she sugar figure out if you could you going straight to hell.

31:33 A teacher was sitting right next to Jesus as far as I was concerned, you know, and then she said something about that. She must know what she's talking about going to go straight to hell have I had a little brother and I got blamed for everything he did.

31:51 Yo mama.

31:56 But the other way, okay. Everybody was kids. We used to play outside and we were playing.

32:06 Guy at the beginning of the depression and we're outside.

32:14 Eddie Eddie over and all that kind of stuff and we were running down the street and we heard the singing and it was depression and now we're having Church in here and the door was open. So that's why we could hear was running by her decision and

32:42 When I look back on it now. I just got this right here so we can listen to some of us, you know.

32:51 What are the gals came out to Young missionary couples? Did you said to send the front seat and then she said down?

33:10 Maybe we can hear a song that these children would like what it was. Jesus loves me this. I know I never heard that my church that kind of stuff never heard Enlightenment for any it was always up to cut it for me to remember one of my

33:41 I'm not used to create a squeaky voice.

33:44 That wasn't the main reason but she had one and anyway, the difference of that really want to go it will ya daddy would take to change out we get two pennies to put in her put in the deal and when we went our own church.

34:07 We kept some of the pennies and put one penny in each when we went to that little Missionary church. We put it all in now that I hit me like a ton of bricks after I got sober after I was in the program of well the difference.

34:25 Between the two churches

34:31 I have a wonderful I'll give it to you piece of paper. It's the difference between

34:39 Stop Shop knots with

34:46 And I wanted to do a lot of them. I would even a little girl. I wanted that my mom will magazines laying around True Confessions and reader my first grade teacher taught us how to read real good and

35:04 Let me keep going.

35:11 What were they going with that one now?

35:15 You're talking about the south Shelton. Oh, yes, and there's some is a piece of paper to give it to you all those Two Notch it when I started to start throwing stuff like that there some of them you want to do.

35:31 You act like I can't wait till I grow up.

35:35 And

35:38 Then now we get into our program my program alcohol program. This is what we did. There's no doubt. They don't even say you shouldn't drink that's up to you. But what we have is this is what we did I go to a meeting and that's what here. This is what I did to get sober and stay sober and it's been a heck of a

36:15 You don't have to do that anymore, but it's hard hard hard now with the drugs cuz it's a completely different. It's just like it. You know, it's hard for me to tell some of these kids. I haven't even tried marijuana.

36:30 And what anything in here to change my mind?

36:34 In any of these drugs can do it.

36:40 Chemo stuff with the chemo or radiation God only knows so anyway, I love you. I love you. I don't care what people think.

37:08 They don't know.

37:11 They don't know what they want to know, ask me. I'll tell him you're dancing to.

37:28 Never let me down yet.

37:33 Are you satisfied?

37:36 I'm satisfied. I'm just happy to be with you and know you and you too.

37:44 And I've been in on your babies and

37:53 Still good friends good friends.