For years I wondered how one knew when it was time to call Hospice for a loved one. And on Monday, May 29th, 2000 while honoring my grandfather with flowers for memorial day I received a call that scared, confused and left me at a loss for words. On the other end of the phone was my step-father calling from Zanesville where my mother at age 57 was fighting lung cancer. The words he spoke I will never forget, “the doctor said your mother is nearing her end and hospice needs to be called”.
My first thoughts were, how does this doctor know she’s nearing her end? What does that even mean? Who is he to say that? How long does she have to live? Should I come now or tomorrow? Does this mean there is no chance she can recover? Can we get a second opinion?
That evening I received a call from a hospice nurse who was able to answer all my questions and concerns. She explained how they knew my mother was nearing her end and what they could do to help make the transition easier for my mother and for my family.
The first week and a half my mother was able to remain at home. A nurse came three times a day to check her vitals and to administer pain medicine which enabled her to spend quality time with us. Each nurse would leave updated notes for us to review after their visits. I found this to be not only helpful in that we knew what stage she was at, but very comforting as well. It was then I began to fully understand the importance of hospice.
On June 7th, 2000 we were told my mom should be moved to the Hospice House. The nurses explained that in order to keep her comfortable around the clock that she would need to be moved. They explained in detail exactly what was happening, just as they had when we are at home.At 4:30am on June 10th, 2000, I received a call from the director of the Hospice house to tell me and my family that we should come and say goodbye. When I arrived the room was so peaceful, there were candles burning, soft music playing, and Eddie the Hospice house dog was passing through checking on my mom. We were told that we needed to give her the ok to go, which the nurse said was very important so she would know we were going to be okay.
On Saturday June 10th, 2000 at 11:24am my mother passed away peacefully.
Though not an easy process, Hospice staff works hard and round the clock to make all involved comfortable and well informed.
To find out more about hospice, please contact Hospice Services at Methodist ElderCare at (614) 451-6700 or click here for more information http://www.methodisteldercare.org/hospice
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net