Archive for Fears – Page 2

I’m (not) Listening…

From* 2012's "The Descendants"

From* 2012’s “The Descendants”

It’s nearly impossible to hear and retain information about hospice care when a loved one enters into his or her final stages of life. Whether there’s a years-long struggle with heart disease or a cancer diagnosis and weeks to live, most have never considered hospice’s options and limits.

Of course they haven’t! But then they you have to . . .

And so, with honest conversations and tenderness, a family decides hospice is the best choice.

Or, staggered by panic and desperate to get a loved one out of the hospital, hospice seems like the awful but only possibility.

Regardless of how calm or frantic the decision-makers are, even the simplest explanations about hospice can seem like a foreign language. There will be assumptions and selective listening.

  • Hospice said a nurse would be here all the time!
  • I thought all the medications were free!
  • Aren’t there pills to make the pain vanish?
  • Hospice said Dad would sleep and not feel anything. But now he’s awake and agitated.
  • Mom can handle the pain and wanted to be alert for the grandkids. But now she’s drowsy.
  • My husband was told he could die at home. But now he can’t?
  • My sister was told she would not die at home. But now she will?

Read More →

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Bed Wars

hospitalbedNo one wants one.

No one likes them.

Some have cranks and levers, wobbly wheels, and are cumbersome to move or adjust.

Newer ones are more complex, have silent electric motors, links for computer cables, and (though pricey) lightweight metal alloy frames.

But who wants to lie in a hospital bed of any kind? Not for overnight, and certainly not for the rest of your life.

I view the hospital bed as one of the intimidating symbols of hospice care. Of course, it’s more than a symbol once it arrives at your home.

Whenever the hospice clinical staff discusses current patients, it’s nearly inevitable that at least one patient has balked at shifting to a hospital bed.

Wouldn’t you refuse? Read More →

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Don’t Call 9-1-1

Not long after, a helicopter plucked me from the wilderness . . .

Not long after, a helicopter plucked me from the wilderness . . .

Quick! Call 9-1-1.

  • Heart attack.
  • Car accident.
  • Criminal activity.
  • A lost child.
  • House on fire.
  • Hiker with broken bones.

Put my name by the last one. I busted my leg on a backpack in the 1980s. Several in my group returned to the trailhead—a six-mile slog—and found a phone. They called 9-1-1. Not long after, a helicopter plucked me from the wilderness and flew me to a hospital in Lake Tahoe.

If something bad happens, punch in 9-1-1.

Except if you’re a hospice caregiver or patient: please don’t use those three life-saving numbers. Read More →

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