Hooray for hospice…

November 18, 2010

We had our first encounter with hospice a year ago as my mum-in-law received the news that her breast cancer had metastasized and that she was now terminal.  Initially, it was palliative care, but switched to hospice at home a few weeks ago when she was told there was nothing more they could do.  What a blessing.  Karl, her hospice nurse, swooped into our lives with his calm, positive and effective presence.  In came the hospital bed that made naps and night-times much more comfortable…in came the medication that was to provide her with a pain-free and comfortable end of life…Kathy’s eyes lit up every time Karl came in…here was one person whose only agenda was HER and her wellbeing.  The rest of us had our own agenda that sometimes interfered with what was best for her, but not Karl.  We came to depend on him to help us keep our “eyes on the prize”…the light bulb went off over my head when he told me that she was eating because she wanted to please me, not because she wanted to, and that she didn’t need to eat if she didn’t want to.  This should be all about her, not about me.  I think that I was a better friend to her in the last days than I had ever been in the 37 years I had known her.  A huge shout-out to Karl and Kno-Wal-Lin Hospice and Palliative Care of Rockland, Maine.  Kathy exited stage as she had wanted, painlessly, peacefully and surrounded by her family and their love…who could ask for more?

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