The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree


The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree

They call it The Hospice Effect. That's when a person begins receiving Hospice services, and shows a remarked improvement in condition.

I think it's like the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree, which was going to get the ax for lack of bearing fruit. A little threat now and then can do a person good. Subconsciously, I bet that's why my mom is improving. Research says it's because she's getting so much more attention.

I can't say enough good things about the hospice team in our area. They do everything they say they're going to do and then some. My mom's condition must have sufficiently declined in the two months since I last spoke with them, and they admitted her on the day of her evaluation. The medicines arrived by 9 a.m. the next morning, a walker by the afternoon, and the phone was ringing almost non-stop with the nurse, social worker, chaplain and counselor all touching base and making appointments. Of course my mom, who was dying on the vine on the weekend I called for hospice help (weak, confused, could hardly walk or talk and feverish), is now back to her antics, and even improved. The same person who last week couldn't speak and implored me with her sad eyes, unable to get up from the floor, now escaped this week, barefoot, booking it for the street with me in hot pursuit. When the hospice nurse came to assess her condition, I apologized over and over, and begged them to believe me when I didn't misrepresent her failing condition. They all have been incredibly gracious and good-humored and understanding and knowledgeable about the unpredictable course (or non-course) of Alzheimer's disease. I also know that if my mom is re-evaluated in 90 days and her condition is sufficiently improved, she may no longer qualify for hospice services at this time. It's hard to imagine her improving (what a strange concept at this point). I am immensely thankful that for now, I have help 24/7 in the decision-making and caregiving process. And the chaplain said my mother was the most active Alzheimer's patient he had even seen, so I know I am not crazy!

WHICH IS GREAT because yesterday after I gave her a shower (daily necessity) the floor in the master bathroom was covered with water and the wall-to-wall carpet in the connecting master bedroom began soaking with water, radiating out to almost half the room. Another blessing that all the females in my family (my sister and her dog, my daughter and my granddaughter, and me) pooled our girlpower mojo efforts to hold the fort and each other while a plumber was contacted and he contacted a recovery team. The shower head had broken inside the wall and water was pouring out of the pipe, down the wall, into the foundation, and onto the carpet.

More phone calls now with the insurance company who would be satisfied if we covered the hole with saran wrap and tossed down a couple of throw rugs on bare concrete. The adjuster assured me he would do his best to push the claim through by the end of the month. This requires a rethinking of our living space, different bed linens, storage of Mom's clothes and health needs, bath area, and a big chair blocking the doorway to her bed and bath where she insists she wants to go to play but cannot understand why she can't any more. Again, I'm so thankful I have another bedroom and bath to put her in, and not plodding along on the wagon train, looking for another wagon when the wheel has fallen off. I do understand our many blessings, in spite of the setbacks. And with a deep breath I remember and thank The Gardener, who never lets our vineyard get too far from His sight.


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You do such an amazing job of navigating and surviving challenges with your sense of humor intact. I hope you get the water situation fixed soon. And I'm so glad Hospice is working well so far!


I'm grateful you have a good Hospice team. We had a wonderful team here. Our nurse was so wonderful and our connect to the outside world... We had a very good aid also. It really was a huge help emotionally. I hope they will be a huge support for you.\r\n\r\nOh my goodness.... Water everywhere... we had one of those incidents when P & I did an overnight break at a hotel -- when my MIL was still fairly functional. She didn't notice that the toilet broke since she decided to sleep on the couch when we were gone and didn't even head to back of house. We walked into hallway and it went squish. For 24 hours the toilet was dumping water that completely soaked 2 bedrooms before seeping into the basement and funneling through the bookshelf onto the floor. WHAT RESPITE?


Ohhhhhh!!! I hate when you have to care for the house! UGH! When you're in a caregiving situation, everything else should just work. Period.\r\n\r\nI'm so glad for the understanding hospice staff. I would imagine they are used to the ups and downs. They sound like they'll be a good team for you, especially because we know the downs will soon outnumber the ups.\r\n\r\nI hope the house is back together ASAP.