Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hospice (part one)

I wanted to take this time to tell you guys about my first interactions with Hospice and the questions that we had for the hospice worker over our “case”. 
Hospice: A special healthcare option for patients and families who are faced with a terminal illness. 
All of this information is from personal experience. 

3 weeks ago, my Great-Grandmother (Wanda Tipton / Nanaw) was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer... she was terminal. We thought that she had time to decide a treatment plan to prolong her life by just a little bit. Sunday April 17, 2016 she was not doing well at all so we took her to the emergency room, she was then admitted into the ICU. She was declining very quickly and we knew that she didn't even have time to decide on treatment. The doctors were trying very hard to get her to consent to a feeding tube because she wasn't getting any nutrition, and without nutrition she would die. She respectfully declined by saying, "No, don't bring me a feeding tube, you can bring me Jesus though." Tuesday April 19, 2016 was her last day. She knew it, the doctors knew it, and we knew it. It was at this time that we (the family) were turned over to hospice because at this point, the doctors were no use to us. The hospice care worker that was on our case was named Jessica. She was by far the one of the sweetest people that I have ever met. We had a lot of questions for Jessica concerning the end of Nanaws life. Jessica had all the answers that we needed. 

What is hospice?
How will you take care of Nanaw?
What does hospice really do?
Is the decision for hospice care giving up hope or waiting to die?
Does hospice do anything to bring death sooner?
Is her death going to be natural?
Does hospice have a plan for after her death?
Does hospice provide support my family after Nanaw’s death?
These are just some of the many questions that we had asked Jessica, and that she answered. She knew what she was talking about when it came to her job. 

Anyways back to Nanaw, she was in a lot of pain from the cancer. (It has now spread rapidly throughout her ENTIRE stomach) Jessica noticed this and also that her breathing was rapid and that she had very bad anxiety, so decided to put her on a medicine that would relax her entire body and just let death take its course. We all said our goodbyes as they put Nanaw on the drip of pain medicine. She was still alive for a while, but she was comfortable. That got me thinking, hospice is all about comfort for the end of someones life weather its at home or in the hospital. They made sure that my Nanaw was comfortable and not hurting for the last hours of her life. That is something that anyone can appreciate. 

For the next post I will probably explain some myths about hospice that I learned from Mrs. Jessica, and the aftercare not only to my Great-Grandmother after her death, but to us as well.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your story! I can echo your positive experience, my Dad's hospice providers were also top-notch in courtesy, compassion, and competence.

    Your phrase "just let death take its course" leaps out, after we just noted Gawande's discussion that hospice is about expanding the quality of all the remaining days of a terminal patient's life. Death will take its course with us all, but we can all be grateful that there are professionals devoted to insuring that its course does no gratuitous harm.