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Tag Archives: hospice

Everlasting Love: TLO Is at Rest and at Peace


Love is the beauty of the soul. ~ Saint Augustine Bernard Richard Schiffer: January 24, 1931 ~ March 9, 2014 The house is quiet, so different, so empty. The beautiful aroma of the stargazer lilies fills the house, as one by one, they bloom in their mystical way. Just as the lilies transition from a small bud to a beautiful flower, TLO’s transition into eternal life was just as mystical and just as beautiful. Holding him in ... Read More »

Approaching the Final Destination


I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love ~ Mother Teresa With TLO’s recent diagnosis that his cancer has spread to multiple parts of his body,  I have to admit this news, along with intense caregiving over the past month, has put me in a position where I have hit the wall with blogging. While  I’ve learned over the past two years that writing about TLO’s bout with esophageal cancer ... Read More »

This Week Is Not for the Weak


By now I thought I would be writing to tell you about Hubby’s passing. I would love to say that after his sedation he rested peacefully and drifted off into eternal rest. Just like in the movies, eyes open, eyes closed, good bye. But after a week, that has not been the case. I will say that I feel we accomplished our goal in keeping Hubby  pain free and comfortable. The Hospice In Patient staff ... Read More »

Worrying That, in the End, You’ll be Cheated


Last summer, my uncle died. That afternoon, I spoke with my cousin, Kelly, who sounded shell-shocked as she spoke about the awfulness of missing her father’s last moments. He died in the hospice unit shortly before Kelly and her mom arrived. Kelly replayed the events of the morning, railing that she should have left the house earlier, gotten out of bed as soon as the alarm went off, made her arrival at the hospice her ... Read More »

Respite, Act 3


When I was a young girl I used to love to visit the local park. The playground had a merry go round there. Not the carousel type with the horses but the colorful one that had the rut all the way around it where we ran while holding on to get it to spin, then we would jump on for the ride. If we were lucky we could get an adult or another person to ... Read More »

On Being an Advocate


Knowledge is knowing what we do not know. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson As we move into the second week of TLO’s palliative radiation treatments, we experienced a few challenges over this past weekend that needed the attention of the hospice nurse. I knew it was just a matter of time before we would enlist their services, it is comforting to know that our ‘friends’ at Hospice of Broward County are just a phone call away. One of the most ... Read More »

The Call For Hospice


Love and compassion are necessities not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. ~  Dalai Lama As we move into the second phase of palliative radiation treatment for TLO, it was important for both of us to bring in our friends from Hospice of Broward County to help us in this journey. The hospice team arrived promptly at our home on Friday, thoroughly explained the process to both of us. It was peaceful as  we signed ... Read More »



This week has been another week of processing some thoughts, ideas, or plans about how to adequately care for Elly and still allow her to make her decisions about her care. I understand my NurseySister’s position that if Elly doesn’t ask for help, we don’t need to provide it. My experience in living with Elly is that she isn’t going to ask for help unless she is in dire need of assistance and is miserable. ... Read More »

55 Miles an Hour and then Bam!


My Grandma, Elly, has always been a “worker bee”. She never chose to drive a car but could pilot you around town, California, or across the country to SE Canada. This week, Elly has been pushing along with her swollen legs and we’ve seen improvement as they have gone down to normal. The pain still tarries in those scarred legs but now she doesn’t say much other than, “I don’t have any starch left”. So, ... Read More »

Taking Vacations, Hallucinations, Dealing in General


We just got back from a week’s vacation in Branson, Mo. We had so much fun, but it was difficult leaving my dad at my sister’s house while we were gone. It reminded me so much of the first time I left my son with my parents to go out of town many years ago. Caring for a parent is so weird. We spend so many years being taken care of by our parents, and ... Read More »

Grandma’s Last Scripture


As many of you know, I care for my 85-year-old mom, Grace. She suffers from dementia. Grace also cared for her mother, Ruth, who died thirteen years ago at the age of 94. My mom suffered a stroke while my grandmother was in hospice. The stress on me during that time was great. When I was little, Grandma Ruth had an unusual way of punishing me. She was a church-going woman and to punish me ... Read More »

End Game: The Fast and the Slow


“He is near the end.” That’s the expression I’ve used frequently this weekend in answer to inquires of how Dad is doing. I don’t like saying it but it’s true. The pace of nearly everything seems to be speeding up. I find myself racing around getting chores done, racing back and forth between the hospital, home, stores, banks, post office and other venues. I always ask myself, Is this something “I” have to do? Much ... Read More »

How Will It End?


Today is my Dad’s 91st birthday. Today I asked hospice to begin providing care to my father. For the past few days, since we rushed him to the ER, I’ve pondered this question. My dad remains hospitalized. He’s out of the ER and moved to a private room but his vitals are not good. They aren’t conclusive or suggesting something immediate is about to happen, but they aren’t good and seem to indicate a specific ... Read More »

I’m Ready. Will You Help Me?


On Friday morning, Viki Kind, author of The Caregivers Path to Compassionate Decision Making, joined me on Your Caregiving Journey. You can listen to our show via the player at the bottom of the post. Our show focused on how to handle a really tough situation: Your caree, who is not cognitively impaired, makes a conscious decision to stop eating and drinking. In essence, your caree makes the decision to die. The inspiration for our ... Read More »

Hospice vs Traditional Medicine


Reading Shandi’s posts I couldn’t help but notice this one particular line: “Hospice amazing, the medical support I’ve looked for all year” I’ve not experienced hospice directly but the overwhelming majority of accounts that I read and hear say the same thing.  It begs the question, Why? Is it that with hospice finally comes a much longed for focus more on the patient and family and away from the disease? What is it that Hospice gets right that traditional ... Read More »

Resources for Life’s End


As we support The Unit Known as Shandi and her mom, I thought it would be helpful to share resources we have on the site. You can find articles relating to end-of-life care, including making the feeding tube decision, here: And, one of the articles includes a talk show I did about 18 months ago with a chief medical officer at a Hospice organization based in Florida (Making the Most of End-of-Life Care). I ... Read More »

What Will You Always Keep?


Yesterday, on Your Caregiving Journey, Judith joined me talk about her love story with Nelson and the difficult news they heard last week. You can listen to our show via the player below. During our discussion, Judith shared how she stays healthy. She also said she knows that she may have to adjust some the of the activities as Nelson’s care needs increase. Her exception? Yoga. So, I’d love to know: What’s your one activity ... Read More »

Ask the Nurse: Should My Mom Get a Feeding Tube?


Yesterday afternoon, on Your Caregiving Journey, Jeannie Keenan of My Health Care Manager, joined us to answer your questions. (You can listen to our show via the player at the bottom of the post.) We had four questions, but spent our time tackling a tough one: I care for my mom, who has advanced dementia. She will periods, some times lasting a few days, where she won’t eat. The doctor has suggested a feeding tube. ... Read More »

Where Matters, Too, When We Die


I think we all hope that we die when we’ve completed our Bucket List, so to speak. That we end just as our work here ends. An article in USA Today yesterday also says that it matters where we die. According to the article, “cancer patients who died in a hospital or intensive care unit suffered more physical and emotional distress than those who died at home with hospice services, according to study of nearly ... Read More »

When Dying to Live Makes Dying Horrible


The New Yorker has an incredible article on its website today: Letting Go by Atul Gawande. Gawande tackles the question: What should medicine do when it can’t save your life? The answer lies in a heartbreaking story Gawande tells of a young woman diagnosed with advanced lung cancer while 39 weeks pregnant. Her story illustrates the difficulty physicians have in communicating honestly about chances of survival and the struggle of families to accept the reality ... Read More »

An Unchanging Message


It’s been a week now since my Mom’s primary care physician broke the news to Mom that she’s at the end of her 15 year fight; the last 8 of which have been full-court-press. Being the skeptic that I am, I escalated the issue to her specialist at the transplant institute. I was able to get the specialist and the primary care docs to talk – at the last minute, so a consistent message could ... Read More »