It’s hard to imagine what a palliative care environment is like unless your family has experienced a loved one dying in one.
Almost eleven years ago, my 89 year old mother was dying of lung cancer. Fortunately, the almost five-year course of the disease had left her mostly symptom- and pain-free. But, about a month before she died, my mom suffered a nasty fall. After a day or so of hospital tests her (very wise) physician told us, “the disease has spread to her brain; there’s nothing more we can do. I suggest we transfer her to hospice.”
Startling, but not unexpected, news.
We talked with my mother about the transfer. She was calm and knew it was for the best.
I don’t remember what I was expecting when we accompanied my mother to the hospice facility, but it certainly wasn’t the kind of vibrant atmosphere we found there.
After all, death is supposed to be solemn and foreboding.
But not here. Here, families were sitting in a spacious greatroom, watching TV, playing games and laughing. There were kids around. The staff was upbeat and engaging.
We were shown to my mother’s room and encouraged to visit any time, day or night. A staff nurse reassured us [...] continue the story