The Hospice Experience – Part 1 (back story)

Let me start by saying that hospice is fantastic. However, understand that needing hospice sucks huge dinosaur eggs.

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that we have a small town house. maybe 1600 sq ft. divided into up and down stairs w all the bedrooms upstairs. so there is a (very) small living space downstairs that had the hospice bed set up in the middle of it all pretty much on display, the center of attention. boom, right there when you walked in.

During the almost 2 months that Honey was on hospice care, we had anywhere from two to ten people staying in the house at the same time. Honey’s mom and sister stayed just over a month. my heart sister, Jeffa, was down from Portland at least 3 times, it was crazy busy.

Honey decided to quit PT, OT and speech therapy. He couldn’t see the purpose of it if he was a short-timer. he was tired, frustrated, overwhelmed and scared. We were all tired, frustrated, overwhelmed and scared.

I managed to maintain some semblance of control by the grace of The Divine. well, maybe not as much as I would like to think… I made the Starbucks barista cry when I brought my coffee back in tears one morning b/c it wasn’t right. when he said, “relax, it’s just coffee,” I thought my head would explode as I had to explain that, no, it wasn’t just coffee… it was the only thing I could count on to be right in my day. The one thing I honestly looked forward to in the mornings. My coffee was always perfect (and always gratis) after that, but I was so embarrassed to have lost the show that I still feel a little guilty when I see that particular man at work. I actually started going to the icky grocery store Starbucks in an effort to save face.

I changed the decor of my living room to incorporate the hospice experience. And being me, I had to do it all the way (half way done is never good enough for me – I’m a typical oldest child overachiever)… we were jungle themed and all sorts of wild; right down to the throw pillows on the sofa. I’ve got to give him credit – the man never complained and I know that he was not feeling all that virile and Tarzan… Right up until the end – he wanted to make sure that I was happy…. even if it meant sleeping on animal print sheets.

There are a few remnants of the time still floating around the house… The Boy-child still uses the zebra print blanket that was on the sofa, I still wear the pink leopard print robe that I had to get b/c it was too cool to pass up and I still simply can’t justify parting with the very expensive towels I bought to round out the theme… otherwise – it is all gone. I couldn’t bear to keep the reminders and neutralizing the d├ęcor seemed a lot easier than moving.

So, I guess this will have to serve as the back-story/introduction to all that was hospice… there is so much more to tell, but I am still sorting things out. I’m hoping that by actually putting this down in words, I can process and get me some closure. It’s time. It’s been time for a while now.

So, yeah… there are some very funny stories tied to the time we were with Hospice, there are also some sad/emotionally wrenching stories. But, then, I think that’s the way it is with almost everything. We do what we can to get through and hope that when the day is done we still have all our fingers, toes and wits about us. For the record, fingers and toes are much easier to keep track of than wits.

I have forgotten more of that time than I can remember (I think that might be a product of self preservation) but I find myself reflecting back with a greater sense of peace than I’ve felt before now. It has taken quite a bit of time and trial to get to a place that I can talk about it – but I’m here now, and all y’all were so good to us as we were enmeshed in the act of trying to get through each day with our dignity and nerves intact, that I do want to share it with you. I’m not sure if this is a selfish or selfless act. It is hard to write about – but I feel a certain lightness of spirit having started the endeavor. I’m not sure when subsequent hospice posts will make their debut – but you know as well as I that I am compelled to share and share I will… still trying to decide if this is a character strength or flaw…

Thank you, my Dear Hearts.

Love you.
and thank my lucky stars for you all the time.