Category Archives: Patricia Roop Hollinger

July 6 – China…Up Close and Personal

by Patricia Roop Hollinger

(c) Can Stock Photo / kentoh

Just a week ago my only encounters with someone born in China were dining out at a local Chinese restaurant or dining in Chinatown in San Francisco, California. As a child, I was admonished to clean my plate because there were starving children who lived in far-off China. Their bony ribs became an image that haunted me. A fourth-grade teacher taught us about many of the traditions of the Chinese. I was horrified when I learned that the feet of Chinese women were bound.

However, just last week I found myself sitting amongst folks from all ethnic and racial backgrounds as we listened to the stories of what life is like living at the Mexico/Arizona border or living in the midst of daily fighting and turmoil in Palestine. We were all seeking Common Ground in the midst of a political climate where policies divide us with the rhetoric of hatred and disdain for the different.

To my right sat a very vivacious young Chinese woman. We exchanged names. She became curious about my being a Quaker when this tradition was a topic of discussion.

“So, what brought you to the U.S.?” I asked. Pei Pei had met a young American man in China and they now live in his home state of Idaho. “Come and join us at Quaker Meeting,” I proposed. She accepted and our day was spent sharing our traditions from both cultures. Her feet were not bound and her ribs were not showing. I challenge all of us to seek Common Ground with those we perceive as being different from us.

“Pat” was raised on a farm, and thus developed an imagination pondering the nature of the universe. Words held the magic of stories. Other cultures intrigued her. She is a retired Chaplain/Pastoral Counselor/Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who lives in a retirement community with her husband and their cat “Spunky.” 


December 18 – Emergency Room Encounters

by Patricia Roop Hollinger

“Hi! My name is Pat and I am a volunteer here in the Emergency Room.”

This is my opening line as I enter the room of the most recent patient to arrive at the Carroll County Hospital’s ER. Thursday mornings will find me there to bring some small comfort to the patient’s and family members while waiting for the necessary medical procedure to occur.

My offerings consist of a warm blanket which is stored in the largest oven I have ever given witness to. I liken the warmth of the blanket to that of being encased safely in the womb before birth. For the procedure that many of the patient’s await, will in many cases, result in being given a new lease on life.

Family members are offered orange juice, apple juice or ginger ale to quench thirst for many of them have arrived in great haste. Their thirst is quenched, but also their need to have an attentive presence as they tell me the reasons why it became necessary for their loved one to be brought to the ER. Many of those stories are heart-rending.

One that I recall with clarity was that of a man who needed what I call a “listen to.” As he awaited his diagnosis he shared with me the horrors of a childhood that was fraught with abuse and neglect.

“See this scar on my neck?” he asked as he shared it had occurred during a tragic accident in earlier years. “I have had two kidney transplants and two liver transplants.”

The medical procedures were daunting to say the least. However, instead of the expected anger about this childhood of abuse and drug addiction his having a religious transformation brought him relief and comfort. That in his later years he found some reasons to be grateful that he was alive. I doubted seriously that I could have been so grateful.

As he was wheeled away for yet another medical procedure he implored me to return when the procedure was completed. He so very much needed someone to listen to his story which is what I do best as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor.

Upon his return the M.D soon showed up and reluctantly shared with him that the diagnosis was that of cancer. I sat with him in silence until he dressed and returned home. No, I will never know the outcome of that encounter, but I have the assurance that my being present and listening to him brought much-needed comfort.

Patricia Roop Hollinger is a retired Pastoral Counselor/Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor after having served for twenty-three years in a mental health setting. She and her husband, who dated in their youth, married in 2010. They reside in a retirement community with their cat, Spunky. Pat enjoys reading and writing.

April 10 – Saying Goodbye to Mother

by Patricia Roop Hollinger

Public Domain Image: Human Crossed Hands While Sitting © creativecommonsstockphotos | Dreamstime Stock Photos

“We have to go down to Bridgewater tomorrow,” I told my husband on Saturday, April 1st.

This was not an April Fool’s joke. You see, my 103 year old mother’s health had been declining rapidly the past few weeks. I felt no urgency to be by her side as I knew that my nieces were with her day and night and I had visited her just weeks prior. During that visit she had enjoyed listening to me play some of her favorite hymns on the piano. Her mind was sharp. Her 96-year-old male friend sang a love song for her.

After her husband of 69 years died in 2001 she reluctantly left their home place to live in a Retirement Village in Bridgewater, Virginia. Oh, how she missed gardening, picking up sticks on the wood lot, and making grape juice from her grape arbor. This grape juice was served at the reenactment of the Last Supper that was held in the Church of the Brethren where she and my father had served as deacons.

A wink at Roger during a church service in her youth is how she met my Dad. This was a brazen move for a woman of that era. After several years of courting by horse and buggy they married in 1932. Both had been raised on farms so it was no surprise that they took up this way of life; a way of life that all three of their daughters remember with fondness despite recalling the odors that wafted from the barn.

After World War II my parents donated their farm as the gathering place for what was known then as Heifer Project. From 1944 to 1948, 3,600 head of heifers lived on our farm before being shipped to war-torn Europe. This is now known as Heifer International, and is located in Little Rock, Arkansas. Mom served meals to the men that brought heifers to our farm all hours of the day or night. Guests never left her home with hunger pangs.

Even though her own college education came to an abrupt end with the depression she made sure that her children and grandchildren had reading material. That time and money was spent for piano lessons and activities related to 4-H. Each daughter and grandchild has their own unique memory of time spent with her. I marvel upon reflection how she made that time in light of all being a farmer’s wife entailed.

When we arrived at her room on Sunday, April 2nd her breathing was labored. I stroked her hands and face as I softly told her it was okay for her to go meet Roger, her daughter Elaine and grandson Michael. Tears welled up in my eyes. Her labored breathing was more than I could bear. Two of her grandchildren had been by her side day and night for the past week. We hugged and cried.

The call came the following morning that she had died–news that brought both sadness and relief.

Patricia Roop Hollinger is a retired Pastoral Counselor/Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor after having served for twenty-three years in a mental health setting. She and her husband, who dated in their youth, married in 2010. They reside in a retirement community with their cat, Spunky. Pat enjoys reading and writing.

December 17 – Comfort and Joy

by Patricia Roop Hollinger

“Okay Pat, time to get up,” announced my husband on Saturday morning at 5:00 a.m. Since retiring seven years ago sleeping until 7:00 a.m. had become my new rise and shine time. What was with this 5:00 a.m. time?

Oh! That’s right. We have to meet a bus that will take us to New York City at 7:00 a.m.

We made it along with the other half awake passengers. Many were engaged in lively conversations about what adventures they had planned for the day while my husband and I saw no need to pontificate about ours until we had a few more hours to slumber.

Bryant Park is where we disembarked into a sea of people like neither of us had seen before. As we tightly gripped each others hand we waded through the throngs to our destination on Broadway to see the musical Cats. A sigh of relief could be heard by those around us as we settled back to enjoy the show.

The sea of people awaited us after the show was over. I was in awe of the reality that our Creator had made no duplicates. Yes, everyone had eyes, noses, hair, arms and legs, but nary a one was exactly like the other.

Never was I so glad to see Eyre Bus #930 when it arrived at Bryant Park to pick us up and with a driver that drove us safely home to our country environs with a paltry population compared to New York City.

With eyes closed our heads hit the pillow at midnight while we had visions of people surrounding us until sleep finally brought us comfort and joy.

Patricia Roop Hollinger is a retired Pastoral Counselor/Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor after having served for twenty-three years in a mental health setting. She and her husband, who dated in their youth, married in 2010. They reside in a retirement community with their cat, Spunky. Pat enjoys reading and writing.

August 15 – A Fateful Phone Call

by Patricia Roop Hollinger

My husband’s health was in rapid decline. Death was imminent. His son and two grandchildren were in their third year of living with us when I had been told it was only to be a weekend.

One day, upon opening the daily paper I read the obituary of the wife of a high school flame. This was his second wife he had married after his first wife had died. As fate would have it they had moved within walking distance of where I was now living with my second husband and I had met her on one of my daily walks. One day I noted they no longer lived there and just wondered where they had moved.

“Dare I call him?” I wondered. The wondering became a phone call and I proposed that in the future we might have lunch together.

With that he said, “How about breakfast next Saturday.”

This was sooner than I had planned but could I pass it up? No, I simply could not pass this offer up. I told my husband that I would be having breakfast with this gentleman. That we had dated many years ago and this was just a friendly gesture in light of the recent death of his wife.

We had breakfast at the same restaurant where we had met years prior when I had been a carhop in the 1950s. We had a few dates but another high school flame of his became his first wife. A job offer took them to San Antonio, Texas where they lived until her death. He met his second wife, who had just died, when he had returned back to visit family in the area.

We quickly established that we still had an interest in each other however I clearly was committed to caring for my husband until his imminent death. My husband was soon under the care of hospice in our home.

An epic snowstorm was predicted. We lived on an 18 acre wood lot off the beaten path. I proposed that he be taken to Dove House for if death came during the snowstorm there would be no way to transport his body to the funeral home. Placing him in the home freezer was not an option I could even consider. Death came at Dove House and it took the funeral home 2 hours to pick up his body was just a mile away.

My high school flame and I continued to have more lunches and breakfasts after my husband’s death. We were married on October 30, 2010 at a pavilion that had been one of our dating sites so many years ago.
Patricia Roop HollingerPatricia Roop Hollinger is exploring her writing skills after retiring as a Pastoral Counselor, Chaplain and LCPC from same hospital where the prescribing doctor is medical director. She is an avid reader, musician, and lover of her cat Spunky.

October 5 – The Wonders of Technology

by Patricia Roop Hollinger

“It’s time to get my prescription filled,” I said.

The refill would run out in a month and I would be near the pharmacy today so I dutifully followed the protocol of entering the script number, pushing number one to indicate that was my only refill, and being told electronically that I could pick this up at 1:00 p.m. Isn’t technology wonderful, I thought.

The other errand was accomplished by noon: I needed some grocery items in light of the predicted hurricane Joaquin heading for Maryland. Rain was already pelting down at a steady pace. I approached the pharmacy to inquire if, just possibly, my script had been filled.

“What’s your name?” the pharmacist inquired.

“Hollinger,” I said.

“Your birthday is 1/18?”

“No, my birthday is 2/28/39,” I replied.

“We have no record that you called Mrs. Hollinger.”

By now I am becoming a tad annoyed. “I did because I recall distinctly pushing number one and being told the script would be ready by 1:00 p.m.” I pause while they look.

“Oh yes, we found it, however your insurance is rejecting coverage.”

“I don’t understand, it always has paid in the past.”

I was shown a printout from my insurance company which indicated that the prescribing M.D. did not have the proper credentials to prescribe this drug.

“That’s bullshit,” I said. “The doctor is the medical director of a psychiatric hospital. He writes scripts for these drugs daily.”

“Well, you know, some doctors forget to renew their license to dispense these drugs,” she replied very authoritatively.

“This doctor would not maintain his status as medical director if he did not renew,” I stated in my own authoritarian voice.

The drug in question was Valium, which I take infrequently, but by now I was ready to swallow the whole script as my anxiety mounted.

“Do you want me to call your insurance company?” she asked.

“Would you please?” I responded firmly.

Minutes later her co-worker came to tell me that the error was one made by their computer. I paid $3.80 instead of the $11.00 quoted when told my insurance company would not pay.

I paddled home in my Honda FIT feeling triumphant and no, I didn’t even need to take the anti-anxiety medication from the prescription that had just been filled.

Patricia Roop Hollinger

Patricia Roop Hollinger is exploring her writing skills after retiring as a Pastoral Counselor, Chaplain and LCPC from same hospital where the prescribing doctor is medical director. She is an avid reader, musician, and lover of her cat Spunky.

July 17 – No Explanation

by Patricia Roop Hollinger

“I don’t believe this,” I exclaimed to my husband. “The caregiver at ARC informs me that Stephen needs a new wheelchair. The one just purchased last year is already missing a headrest and a foot rest.”

Stephen lives in a home for the disabled; as he was born with profound disabilities and was predicted to die within weeks, then months which now have become 50 years this August 17, 2015.

Oh, I made an attempt to keep him at home, until sleepless nights coupled with uncontrollable seizures gave me no choice but to relinquish his care in a setting where caregivers had 8 hour shifts; thus relieving them of the constancy of his care.

These caregivers are only paid a minimum wage. Thus, the constancy of his care is compromised by the frequency of staff leaving for a better paying job. And, yet, the legislature drags their feet regarding any increase in the minimum wage for workers caring for the ‘least of these among us.

Their primary concern is to halt all abortions. You know their spiel about the sanctity of life, blah, blah, blah. Does that include quality of life as well? Have any of them visited or cared for a child who is profoundly disabled in all facets of their bodies?

Stephen needs touch and a constant pair of eyes and ears. Vicky, a massage therapist, gives him a massage twice a month and then reports to me the state, or lack thereof, of his home and care. She has become my eyes and ears regarding his care.

Stephen, I pray that when you and I both are not bound by the limits of the physical realm we can have a conversation about all these years and the profound impact they have had on each of our lives.

Patricia Roop HollingerPatricia is a retired LCPC/Chaplain from a inpatient/outpatient psychiatric hospital as of 2010. She is a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and the daughter of a mother who will be 102 on July 12th, 2015. She is a voracious reader, musician, lover of cats, and is currently exploring her writing skills.