Tag Archives: celebration

Lesson 1385 – Hospice – a list for the caregiver

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A few days ago I made a list of things that would help and/or be useful to someone who is in a residential hospice. Now I’d like to look at a list for those giving care. I know that my situation was different, most people never stay longer than 2 weeks, but as you know my mother lasted 8 weeks at hospice before she died.

That was 8 weeks of me traveling down to stay with her four days out of the week (and there was one period where I was there for 9 days straight because I had spring break.)

I am forever glad that I was able to do this, but it took its toll on my body. You know when on the airplane they tell you to put your oxygen on first telling you that if you are in charge of someone, you can’t take care of them if you don’t take care of yourself – (and then every nurse repeats this story to you nearly every day at hospice?)

It’s true.

While with my mother, I sat for hours and hours and when it was time to eat, I would grab a quick lunch (which usually meant a sandwich and fries) and return to my sitting. At night I’d return to my hotel and well, you can probably figure out what I did – absolutely nothing. A day at hospice doesn’t exactly psych you up for a vigorous workout in the evening. Continue reading

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Lesson 1380 – Hospice – A list of what to bring

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I love lists. They are how I get through so much work every day. I’ve got some down time? Let’s see what’s on my list that needs to be done.

As anyone who has had a baby knows, there are plenty of lists of things to bring to the hospital – lollipops, tennis balls for back pain, and even baby nail clippers. You need a lot at the beginning of life.

And then there’s the end of life.

I haven’t seen too many lists about what you need to bring if you go into a residential hospice. But, as it turns out, there are a few things that can actually help the patient out. This is a list of items my mother who was ambulatory (initially she could walk down a hall and back) and lucid (at the beginning) really appreciated during her stay at hospice. Continue reading

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Lesson 1375 – Hospice – It may not be the end

 

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There are different levels of hospice care. A patient is eligible for hospice benefits if she has an illness from which she will never recover. If it is determined that the condition is present and the patient is not actively dying, a hospice nurse would visit either the home or a nursing home for a prescribed amount of time to help assist with difficult tasks, like taking showers, taking a walk, or even getting the medication straight.

That “illness from which she will never recover” covers a lot of bases and it’s why you’ll hear stories of someone’s dad being in hospice for 6 months, or someone’s mom getting hospice care for years for her C.O.P.D. Some patients can live for a long time while receiving hospice benefits.

A residential hospice, however, is different. A patient is sent to a residential hospice facility if she has an illness from which she will never recover *and* it appears she will die within a few weeks. Residential hospice is not a nursing home. It is a place where people go to die comfortably. The average stay at a residential hospice is 2 weeks.

In fact, and this was an incredible shocker to me, if they can stabilize you, even though you are actively dying, you will be moved to a nursing home. I saw this happen many, many times. Continue reading

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Lesson 1374 – Hospice – One thing at a time

 

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The life lessons from the flock are back.

As you know, I spent the better part of the last 2 months with my mother while she lived until she died at a residential hospice. It was my first introduction to such a facility and I learned so very much both from the experience and from just being with my mother.  I’m a writer and teacher. I give honor to my mother and this journey by writing about it so it can be shared with others – that you may learn. Continue reading

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The final update

 

During mom’s hospice stay, I sent updates out to the family and friends. I’m sharing this with my online friends because you have been so supportive throughout this journey. Every single message was read and appreciated. Thank you, thank you all. 

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This will be the final update.

Mom/Teddie passed away yesterday at 12:55 p.m. April 28th with Larry, Sue, I, and many members of another patient’s (Nancy) family by her side laughing, joking and telling her that we all loved her. We’ve met many friends on this hospice journey and have discovered that in the end there is enough love for everyone.

Mom was comfortable until her last breath. She didn’t struggle. She simply slipped away when she was ready. She made sure to do it when the sun was shining, the seas were calm, and the birds were out and singing. Mom had told me earlier that she had always wanted to die on a warm sunny day and not in the cold of winter. She got her wish.

It is a testament to mom’s generous spirit that many nurses who had worked with her during her stay came in to say good bye and to give hugs. Word gets out quickly in that place. For one nurse, it was the first time she had ever cried for a patient. That speaks volumes about mom’s character.

Although she was in hospice, mom had a great last 2 months. She made friends, she heard music, saw art, smelled flowers, sat in front of the ocean sound, and shared (literally) buckets of candy with everyone. Mom laughed, watched her favorite shows, and even until the last few days wanted to know about the election results. She lived until she died.

I will be heading back to New Hampshire soon, but this time, instead of saying “Goodbye Mom, see you next week” and leaving her here, I get to bring her back with me in my heart.

We all do.

I wish you all peace and love. Go out and enjoy this fine day we’ve been given. Take care,

Wendy

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join Wendy on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

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