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Nurses' bond

Lina Dailey, 101, a resident at Edgemont Healthcare, embraces the hand of traveling hospice nurse Sharon Adams during a visit. For the past year Sharon has worked as a nurse's aide for Bluegrass Care Navigators. Lina has been her patient since March. The two immediately bonded. "This is my angel," Lina says. Sharon is a three-time cancer survivor and cares for her parents who live with her.

The atmosphere inside room 304 at Edgemont Healthcare is calm but grim. Lina Dailey, 101, sleeps curled up in blankets, under a large window. There are no visitors. Sharon Adams walks into the room and shakes her gently. Lina turns with a look of confusion, one that quickly turns to a  smile.

Lina is one of several patients Sharon, 57, sees daily in her job as a traveling hospice nurse. She has worked as a nurse’s aide for Bluegrass Care Navigators for a year. She drives 40-50 miles a day on highways and one-lane roads in mostly rural areas, visiting patients with varying degrees of disability. She is also a three-time cancer survivor and a caretaker for her parents.

On this day, like most others, Sharon greets Lina by holding her hand. She crouches next to the bed.  They stare at each other for a while. Sharon wonders what’s on Lina's mind.

Sharon enjoys her time with Lina spent singing hymns, reading scripture, reminiscing about Lina's life and sharing their love of looking after other people. 

They share a special bond. Both wanted to be nurses when they were young, but life got in the way. 

Born in 1917, Lina wanted to go to school, but being from a family of tobacco farmers with little money and 10 children, it wasn’t an option. She had to work the farm and take care of her family.

Sharon decided she wanted to be a nurse after caring for her grandmother while she was in high school. After being accepted to college, she married and had a child so life took another direction for her.  Over the years, she battled other challenges.

At age 32 Sharon's fiancé died suddenly. A decade later, Sharon was diagnosed with cancer; two more battles with the disease would follow.  She is cancer-free now.

“Another thing Mrs. Dailey and I have in common is that she always wanted to be a nurse but didn’t have the opportunity because she was taking care of her family,” Sharon says.

Lina did become a nurse’s aide in the 1970s, after her husband died. She worked two decades on the nightshift in the emergency room and at nursing homes.

For 40 years Sharon held a variety of medical-related jobs, including the nightshift in an ER, an EMT with an ambulance service and working in a doctor's office.

At 51 she became a Certified Nursing Assistant as preparation for nursing school, but once again life got in the way. She took a job with Bluegrass Care Navigators as a CNA and says she has finally found her calling.

Sharon sees a lot of herself in Lina.  She respects her faith in Christ and putting her career on hold to care for her family.

“I think we are alike a lot as far as morals and our way of thinking." 

Sharon doesn't tell her patients about her experience with cancer.

 "It’s about them, not about me. But I think at the same time it gives me the ability to understand that fear of death."

Lina listens as Sharon asks what's on her mind during a visit. "My patients count on me to show up," Sharon says. "They count on me to be that person who will sit and hold their hand or cry with them."
Sharon travels to a patient's home in the countryside. She often drives 40 to 50 miles a day.
Sharon cautiously steps through a puddle at a patient's home in the unincorporated town of Morning Glory. "You just have to kind of push on knowing that they’'re expecting you," Sharon says.
Sharon carries a basin of water from the kitchen to bathe patient Ray White, 90, during a house call.
Anna Belle Bromagen, 15 months, naps on the bed as Ray is bathed by Sharon, surrounded by famliy. Ray recently shattered his hip in 34 places and has developed dementia.
Sharon wipes debris from Ray's face while giving him a bath at his home. "For a lot of my patients, the highlight of their day is when I come in and they have that interaction," Sharon says.
Sharon (left) sits down with Betsy Thomas, patient Ray White’'s granddaughter, during a visit. A large part of Sharon’'s job is to be there for the families of her patients. "The thing is the family, being support for the family because they've never gone through anything like this before," Sharon says.
Sharon (right) discusses her new scrubs with Jaime Foster, CNA coordinator for Bluegrass Care Navigators, during a visit to the office to gather supplies.
Sharon wheels William Fryman (center) past Dorothy Boyers at Edgemont Healthcare. William isn't a patient of Sharon's, but that doesn't stop her from offering a helping hand.
Sharon catches up with her parents, Harold and Delores Adams, in their living room. Sharon’'s parents moved in with her three years ago. "They are getting up in age and they knew there was going to be a time when they were gonna need help physically," Sharon says.
Sharon relaxes and reflects on her day with a cigarette and a cup of coffee at her home. "I would’'ve not have been able to do this job before," she says. "I think the knowledge over the years. . .I had a fiancé that died suddenly when I was 32. But I think all those life experiences put together make me who I am today."