"Hospice Sometimes Heals"

Jo Rozier

"Hospice Sometimes Heals"

Jo Rozier
Sleeping with Doll 2015_2

I was originally going to title this post "Mom>3; Hospice>0." However when I read the title expression on Pegi's blog (@worriedwife) about "A Whole New Hospice", I knew she had stated it far better

For the third time in as many years, Mom has "transitioned" off of hospice care. Since commencing hospice last spring following her fall and subsequent broken hip, her health has stabilized and remained so long enough that Mom no longer qualifies for hospice. It is a mixed blessing.

First and foremost I'm grateful that Mom is still here. Neither I or her medical team believed she would still be with us by Thanksgiving let alone see the beginning of a new year.

The "mixed" part of this blessing is that Mom's current condition is diminished even from where she was a few months ago.  She's now only a little over 100 lbs and besides being completely bed bound, her mental state due to late stage dementia is akin to a infant 3 to 6 months old. Although the mental decline has not been precipitous, it has been steady. I've grown accustomed to visitors who haven't seen her in a month or so to breaking into tears upon seeing her.

The other "mixed" part of this blessing is what Pegi has described. We too had enjoyed the pleasure of a team of caring professionals focused on Mom's comfort and well being (mine, too, truth be told). All under the guise of hospice. They cried as they informed me that they were going to have to discharge Mom from the program, remarking how much they had come to love her in just a short time and assured me that despite Mom's official new status, they were only a phone call away. I will miss them greatly.

So here we are. One day at a time. For however many days (weeks, months) she has.

A few days ago, during one of my daily visits, I kissed Mom on the cheek as I usually do upon entering her room.  However, this time Mom turned her head, made eye contact, smiled and said, "Hi."

For a brief moment, it wasn't an 89-year-old woman with late stage dementia and her caregiver, it was a mother happy to see her youngest child, someone she hadn't seen in awhile.  So I did what any self respecting son would do, I hugged my Mom tightly.