Archive for Eating

5 Questions to Ask a Hospice Patient

On conversations that matter . . .

What can I say?

With some hospice patients, even when they are friends or family members, we’re unsure of how to keep a conversation going. It may be easy to begin a chat about today’s weather or yesterday’s news, but what about having a conversation that matters?

And for other hospice patients, maybe when we’re first-time visitors from their faith community or a new volunteer from hospice, we can also have doubts about what to say after the introductions and mentioning that it’s hot (or breezy, humid, snowy) outside.

Here are a handful of suggestions for deepening a conversation with someone in hospice care.

(And below the suggestions, if you want to skip my optimistic examples, I reflect about a recent “failed” visit with an acquaintance nearing death.)

5 things to say to someone you know and love . . . Read More →

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Food Matters for Hospice Patients

DietDuring patient care meetings, a hospice nurse would report that a patient had started on “a mechanical soft diet.”

What was that?

My serious side guessed something happened to the food for easier swallowing and digesting. But I confess to imagining expensive equipment—with complex moving parts—processing a meal before it arrived on the patient’s plate. Maybe the food was delivered from a secret laboratory to the patient’s home?

Don’t astronauts require special preparation and packaging for dining in space? The U.S. military has the MRE—Meals Ready to Eat—for troops in locations without portable or permanent mess halls. I’ve hiked with freeze-dried food stashed in my pack. Whether orbiting the earth or exploring wilderness, weren’t some “mechanical” steps taken to create those meals?

I asked a nurse.

She explained, “It’s when the food is cut into small, bite-sized pieces.” Read More →

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When A Hospice Patient Stops Eating

What mattered more at Thanksgiving . . . the food or the people?

What mattered more at Thanksgiving . . . the food or the people?

Ever said a variation of these . . .

  • Want to get some coffee?
  • What are you bringing for Thanksgiving?
  • How about lunch next week?
  • Let’s get together for dinner and talk about it.
  • How about kicking back and ordering pizza tonight?
  • Did you hear about that new restaurant?

We are a food-oriented people. And rightly so!

Whether it’s last week’s fancy restaurant meal or thin gruel fed to Charles Dickens’ fictional orphans, food nourishes us. We have favorite food . . . my friend Juanita’s sock-it-to-me-cake is to die for. We have comfort food . . . please give me a good movie, a comfy couch, and then bring on the chips and salsa with cheddar cheese melted on top. We have memories of meals at great restaurants. We have stories about cheap meals on a date with the person who became our beloved. We munch on popcorn or peanuts and can’t stop grabbing one more handful. We love-love-love the food Mom made—potato salad or pineapple upside down cake or tuna fish sandwiches—that no one else in the world can duplicate. We swap family recipes, sneak junk food, try all the samples at Costco, and every once in a while we eat breakfast for dinner because . . . well, just because! Read More →

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