Tag Archives: Hospice

Thoughts about Hospice

This week a garden friend was put on hospice. She’s been fighting cancer for a little over a year now.
It’s no longer responding to treatment.

She had a crises on Thursday. She thought she was dying and she was alone. Another garden friend and I were headed to her place. He son left work to come.

She was mad, she told me the angels didn’t show up. I told her I didn’t know what she was talking about. She asked, “Aren’t the angels supposed to come get you?”

“I don’t know, my grandmother’s dad came for her.”

“Well, no one has come!”

I think she decided that now she is on hospice, it’s time to go, now.

That isn’t how hospice works.

It’s an acknowledgement that the end of life phase has been entered. You can be put on hospice up to 6 months before the end actually happens. Um, well, the calculated 6 months. We really can’t predict when we will be done with an illness.

She thought she would be gone in 2 weeks after she found out about the cancer. She’s still here.
She’s fought the good fight. Looks like she still has some life in her.

I’m sorry she’s disappointed. I’m glad I got to spend another afternoon with her.

I asked her what her favorite Valentine’s day was. She had a lovely memory of when she and her late husband were first engaged.

Even though it is good to talk to people about what is happening, I think we need to be careful and ask questions to determine what hospice means to the person who is ill.

Too Depressed or Not Depressed Enough

Hospice was scheduled to come the morning that Gpa died.  I called them to see if they wanted to come out anyway.

No, call 9-1-1, but if you need the bereavement services, be sure to call back.

I’m remembering that conversation now.  And wondering if I should call.

But I would have to find the number.  I don’t even remember which company I told the doctor.  I guess I can ask the doctor.

But I’m either too depressed or not depressed enough to bother.

I really think I’m fine.  I don’t feel a need to talk to a bunch of strangers about what I’m going through.  Especially as I have family and friends who have shared the last year with Gpa and I.

These are the people who I want to share what I remember with.   And I do.

We have been remembering all kinds of great things about Gpa.  And helping me figure out what I’m going to do next.  And in the mean time, I’m still working in the garden and helping harvest for the food pantry.  The first Tuesday in April, I started teaching juggling again.  And tomorrow will be the first Crime Watch meeting since I took a break.

I don’t think I’ll bother with finding the number.  But it was nice of them to offer.

A Change of Plans

Yesterday the following is what I wrote down to get done:

Hospice 10ish
Library
Hair cut 1
? truck
practice music
look up about copyright

The only thing that got done was practice music.

It had snowed in the night and there was 2 inches in the back yard.  It was funny to see  the dogs reaction.

Because of the snow, hospice called and asked if they could come at 11.  Sure, we weren’t going anywhere.

Because of the snow, the stylist asked if we could move the hair appointment to Wednesday.  My daughter said, I could also see about a different day.  So I said I would wait and call to reschedule, if that was OK with the stylist.

Because the truck wasn’t ready, we didn’t pick it up.

I cleaned off the car because I didn’t yet know we wouldn’t be leaving the house, started laundry and gathered my music to play for Gpa.

I changed him and shifted his position.  Got settled myself and began to play.

I played, “In the Garden”, an admitted favorite.  Then went on to other church songs that he grew up with.  I finished with songs the band I’m in has written and plans to record next month.

I was playing the ukulele and had planned to practice the violin next.  I looked over and Gpa wasn’t breathing.  Or was he?  I had put him in plaid pajamas and couldn’t tell if it was the look of the pattern or if he was breathing very shallow.

I went to ask my daughter if she thought we should wait for hospice.  She asked about his pulse.  Oh, yeah, I had forgotten we can check that.

No, no pulse.

I called hospice and they asked if I called 9-1-1.  No, I wanted to know if they still wanted to come out.  No, they said to call 9-1-1, so that if they could do something to revive him, they could.  I replied that he has a DNR.

She had never had this happen before so she put me on hold to discuss with her supervisor.  I’m not surprised,  Gpa is a one of a kind type of guy.

She said to call 9-1-1.

And the rest of the day was filled with taking care of Gpa, then talking about Gpa.

Not that Last Ride

Last Wednesday, I had decided that it would be the last time Gpa went to daycare.  He had gotten to the point he could not stand on his own.

It was a cold and rainy day.  I almost said never mind and kept him home.  But I had a couple of things I needed to get done before becoming housebound.  And I had made plans to have lunch with a friend that I didn’t want to miss.

On the way to daycare, I was sad that this would be his last ride.  He loves them so much.

But I was wrong.  It wasn’t his last ride. On Friday, a beautiful sunny day.  Thank you Texas weather! My daughter needed a ride to her car.  I told her I could do it if she helped me put Gpa in the car.  She asked what about when we got home as she would go to work after dropping her car at the shop.

I told her that I can get him out of the car better than I can get him in the car.  As it worked out the home health nurse wanted to meet about that time and she helped me get him out of the car.

The nurse had the “H” word talk with me. So over the weekend I looked up a few hospice companies and one is coming tomorrow.

In the mean time, the truck is still not fixed and my daughter loaded up Gpa into the car yesterday and we had another lovely ride.  Sure he slept through it but he’s been doing that lately.  It was nice to be able to give him another ride.

But I don’t know it I’ll learn not to say this is the last time for …. or not, we’ll see.

The Thing About Averages

A lot of people put a lot of stock into the average of anything.  But usually the  type of average isn’t mentioned nor the delta.

I looked up the average life expectancy for a dementia patient earlier tonight.

For a man over 90, it is 4.5 years.

Gpa has already surpassed that number.

In January 2013, he will have lived with Dementia for 6 years.

Yay, Gpa!

But that means someone else died within the first year or so after diagnosis.

The average sets up an expectation.  So for the family that lost their loved one after a year or two, the loss would have been more of a shock.  They were planning on more time.

For us, some care givers have already given up on Gpa.  The last dementia care home I had him in wanted to put him on Hospice a few months before he was 99.  It did not make sense to me to put a man who was walking and talking and feeding himself on Hospice.

The reply was, “He’s 100 and losing weight.”

I didn’t put him on Hospice, I quit my job and brought him home.

My back hurts and I’m so tired I don’t know if I left the front door wide open while we were at church or if I opened the door when we got home and went back to the car Gpa.  (Nothing was missing so I guess it doesn’t matter.)  I get so frustrated, I yell more than I would like.

However, I will never regret this time I took to be with Gpa.