"Hospice Sometimes Heals"


"Hospice Sometimes Heals"

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.

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You brought back so much of what my mother and I went through last year. I think it was the toughest time of my life. My mother had Lewy Body dementia. All the dementia symptoms with tremors in her arms and hands. She could hardly feed herself and got mad if help was offered. Hospice came in the early part of February. They were wonderful with her. I slowly saw my mother go from being 88 to acting like a 1 or 2 years old. She went all the way down to 67 lbs. Sad to say, the last month she was alive I prayed God to take her. Not for me but for her. The picture could be my mom laying in bed with her doll. My mom died on Aug. 6, 2015. I understand your feelings so well. You were right when you said one day at a time. One thing I did do was hold her hands when she was agitated and tell her it was alright and time to go be with her family. I cried as I said it, but I think it helped her. God Bless you in this difficult time. This site is a blessing for me and I hope for you.


Oh, I love that photo!\r\n\r\nOh, gosh, it is bittersweet that she no longer qualifies for hospice. That she's stable is wonderful. That you no longer have that caring support is tough. \r\n\r\nAs usual, you remind us of what's most important--those moments of connection. We must hold to them tightly when they happen.\r\n\r\nKeep us posted as you can.


Thank you for sharing this update. I can understand how your Hospice experience has brought so many contrasting emotions. I truly enjoyed chatting with you a few months ago when we were discussing the Bible Study. It brought me closer to you as a fellow traveler, and I'm thinking of you and your mom today.