Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Gift of Hospice

We went to M & D's last night, Friday.
It occurred to me on Thursday that ground beef patty, rice and broccoli might be a good meal for Mom. (On a tray with a bud vase) She agreed but had some green beans that needed to be cooked. So I fixed that for dinner.
Mom came to the table and took her morphine and ate. I was not as successful as you were, Dave. She did not clean her plate. When Dad suggested that she eat more, she quoted the Blue Handbook from Faith Hospice: do not force the patient to eat. I suggested that getting her to eat more was habit and reminded her of the many times we have had to get her to eat in the past year. She agreed. Must be the morphine.

What I want to tell you about, however, is our conversation before dinner.
Just Mom and me sitting in her room.

She used the words: the "gift of hospice". Hospice, of course, indicates end of life and as the word gets out, people are getting in touch with her to say good-bye:

Matt Malouf came over and spent an hour sitting by the bed, talking to her about his kids. He showed her pictures of all of them. It gave her real joy that he shared that time with her. A gift.

Beverly Brown made some grape leaves for her. Beverly only uses fresh grape leaves now. The jarred ones just aren't good enough. Her vine had quit producing good leaves for the summer so she got some from a friend. The dolmas were small because the leaves were small and Beverly had packed them in several bags of 5-6 grape leaves and a lemon wedge. Perfect for a snack or before dinner or lunch. Another gift.

Mom called Rev Kev at church. He told her that he was available to visit if she wanted, a fairly routine response from a minister to a parishioner. Instead she asked him if he had a minute to talk and told him how much his classes have meant to her. That he has really brought their studies to life and thanked him. A gift given.

Karen Malouf wrote her a letter, and on and on.

Mom said that since death is a given in her situation, people don't feel that they have to skirt around it. They don't have to say "get well soon" since both parties know that that isn't in the cards. They can honestly share their feelings and express their love for her in words and deeds. She seems to be surprised and delighted at the number and variety of people who are in touch.

After dinner, she sat on the sofa and visited. Then I helped her to bed. She said she could do it herself but it sure was nice to have some help.

A good evening. (For Dad, too. He was thrilled that when he got home and he didn't have to think about fixing dinner.)

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