My Personal Experience With Hospice

My Personal Experience With Hospice

My personal experience with hospice came recently when my stepfather passed away. My mother quietly hugged my neck after the doctor suggested transferring Pop from the hospital to the hospice down the street and whispered softly, “This is all happening so fast, oh please don’t let him die on the day of Christmas!” She had been fighting the good fight and the decision to admit him to the hospital or send him home changed when she had a seizure while the doctor was in the room. Immediate tests were ordered which revealed a severe brain hemorrhage; nothing else could be done.

Pop had survived the night, which was more than many expected. His rest seemed haunted even by the morphine injections he received every two hours houston hospice. His breathing was labored, the room was cold, and the monitors sporadically interrupted our dreaded fears as the deafening clock on the wall counted down, ticking off the seconds as arrangements were made for his transfer to the hospice.

The hospital nurses were friendly and left us alone while we made a few silent phone calls to the family. The clock continued, but we wanted time to stop right there. Mom kissed Pop’s head and took her hand as he opened the Christmas present he had chosen for her two weeks earlier. We thought it appropriate that she opened the gift in front of him even though it was still two days before Christmas. The gold and diamond pendant expressed her love for her; he had chosen a gift that would describe how much he loved and appreciated her. She has not removed the necklace since she fastened it around her neck and left it hanging over her heart.

The nurse came back to see if any of us needed anything and to inform us that the ambulance had arrived to take Pop to the hospice. With admirable strength, my mother stood up and took a deep, tortured breath, holding back the reckless sobs that would spill if she had dared to open her lips. Her love for this man was strong and undeniable; she wanted more time to share the plans they had made.

The mere mention of hospice brings a purpose that no one wants to hear. “The hospice is beautiful,” encouraged the nurse. “The rooms are cozy and decorated like bedrooms and each has its own theme. One is decorated with a fishing theme.”

“Oh, he loves to fish,” Mom offered. “Maybe that room is available.”

We immediately noticed that the hospice smelled better than the hospital and we commented on what we were meeting in the waiting room. A soft-spoken woman offered us coffee or tea and showed us the surprisingly spacious kitchen for such a small facility. A social worker came out to talk to us about how we were greeted 24 hours a day and how to access the building after hours. She asked if we had any questions, but some were no longer important and others suddenly slipped out of our heads. They kept our minds busy while we waited to see Daddy. We were functioning in an existence between two worlds, nothing felt real … and we felt nothing but a dull, aching numbness. Some strange kind of autopilot seemed to have taken over, despite, or possibly due to, lack of sleep combined with an indescribable emotional turmoil raging within our souls.

Before long, the staff installed Pop in his new room. Painted in a soothing beige shade, the open blinds opened onto an immaculate patio. Comfortable furniture adorned the room that glowed with warm incandescent lighting. The white chenille bedspread was like the one my grandmother had on her feather mattress when I was a child. The area was larger than he imagined, nothing like the institutionalized hospital box, and the absence of tubes, monitors, and machines allowed Pop to rest comfortably.

The staff were reassuring and offered words of comfort hospice companies in houston tx. A young woman made her rounds visiting patients with a sack full of toys; and she put a plush Santa in bed with him. Someone else brought a tall, sharp white chandelier on a small glass stand; a card tied with a ribbon contained the words of Psalm 23. We stayed until late at night, when Mom said she would like to go home and try to get some sleep. My stepbrother had already committed to spending the night with Dad, so I was sure that the love of her life would be in the best of hands without her.