Elbert Adams is a hospice care patient with the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater St. Louis (VNA) whose background in ministry has made him grateful for the ways VNA has been one of many blessings in his life.
Elbert was born and raised in St. Louis and went to Vashon High School. After graduating, he joined the Army, quickly climbing the ranks to sergeant. He served as a psychiatric specialist in the medical corps and worked in a psychiatric hospital.
Upon returning to St. Louis, Elbert got a degree in sociology from UMSL, where he later received a Masters in Education. He also has a Masters degree from Eden Seminary. He pursued his Masters degrees for the sake of learning more about Christian education to be a better pastor, which Elbert considers his vocation. He is a pastor at his church to this day, even while in hospice care.
Life as a Hospice Care Patient
Elbert, like many, was referred to VNA after getting sick. His blood pressure was dangerously low, so he was sent to the hospital where he remained for several days. When he got well enough to go home, he was matched up with a different hospice care organization that he didn’t feel was a good fit as they focused on only the negatives of his short life expectancy. Once he was matched with VNA, it was then he felt he was in good hands regarding his end of life care.
The main responsibilities of VNA’s hospice care nurses are to keep track of Elbert’s progress, monitor his medicine and manage his pain. Elbert says he has a good relationship with his nurses and trusts that they’d support him if he ever felt the need to ask for anything beyond their regular duties.
Elbert credits God with his blessed life and the fact he’s lived longer than initially predicted. Though he’s in hospice care and having to manage considerable pain, he’s still preaching and serving his congregation on a weekly basis to make sure church members get the emotional and spiritual support they need.
“God has done things with my life that people didn’t imagine,” says Elbert. “There are just so many people who have written me off as dying… God has proven that He is faithful, and He has proven the trust that I place in Him.”