Archive for Hospice

Doctors, Hospice, and Plato’s 2,000-Year-Old Comment

A son’s Dad had died about six weeks ago.

I phoned to check on the son and his family. During the brief chat, I learned that his father hailed from Wyoming, had been a wonderful grandfather to his many grandchildren, and how the family was dreading all of the future birthdays and holidays without “Gramps.”

In some of the bereavement calls I make for hospice, no one is home (or no one answers) and I’ll leave a message. Or the call is quick and perfunctory. On occasions, callers talk for quite a while because they’re hurting or lonely. I try to be ready for anything.

In this call, the man whose father had recently died, and who’d been served by hospice for only a handful of days, asked, “Why didn’t Dad’s doctor ever tell us about hospice?” He paused, then shared more of his father’s story. After multiple emergency room trips, procedures attempted and procedures considered, a surgeon had lingered in the father’s hospital room. It was this doctor— unknown to the family hours before—that finally explained the option of hospice. Read More →

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A Hospice Patient’s Hand-Me-Down Gifts

We can never experience what another touched, heard, smelled, tasted, or saw.

For example, I’ve been with friends that ordered a favorite dish at a restaurant and asked me to give it a try. Just a bite!

“Delicious, right?” my table companion gushed.

Not really, I concluded after a nibble. If I’m polite, I’ll mumble thanks for the, for me, underwhelming cuisine. My taste buds are different than yours; yours different than mine. It’s the same with all of our senses and sensibilities. Variety, don’t they say, is the spice of life?

Or can we experience another’s perspective? Even in hospice? Read More →

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My Hospice Holiday Wishes

In the final days of this month, and during this season of so many holidays for many religions and cultures, I wanted to use my “magic wand” to give an ideal gift to others.

Oh, how I wish I could wield a wand so powerful . . .

Below are the honest words and hopeful actions that I would offer for those involved with hospice.

And we are all part of hospice. About 2,600,000 people annually die in the United States. Using statistics only on those served by Medicare in 2015, there were over 1,300,000 people enrolled in hospice care. While those simplistic and rounded-off “facts” represent different sources, I’m confident that about half of the annual deaths in the United States involve hospice. The odds are extraordinarily high that everyone, at some point in their life, will either be helped by hospice or have a friend or family member in hospice care.

Some of my wishes are simple. Some are overly optimistic. Some are more practical and obvious than wearing warm clothes on a cold day.

I limited myself to 3 wishes for each “person.”

Please, tell me what your wish might be! (I’d love to hear from you.)

Even more important, when thinking about your “wishes” for life and death, for living and dying, for you and your loved ones, for today and whatever tomorrow might bring . . . tell your wishes to the people most important to you. Read More →

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