Communion Of Dreams

October 20, 2007, 9:52 am
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Health, Hospice

Thursday morning the hospice nurse (Lisa) came for her weekly check-up for my MIL. She went through, did the usual stats, talked with my MIL about how she was feeling, whether she had any pain, et cetera. I like Lisa, she has a quiet and caring way I’ve found typical of hospice nurses.

After she was done, my MIL wanted to lie down and rest a bit, so I helped her with that while my wife went out to chat with Lisa. Once I had my MIL settled and secure, I joined them. It was the usual conversation, filling in Lisa on our observations of how my MIL had been doing the past week, letting her know of any TIA episodes and whatnot, discussing any additional scheduling and so forth for the coming week. Lisa had been unable to bring some of my MIL’s meds with her, since the pharmacy at the Hospice hadn’t had a chance to get them filled. She said that she’d drop them by late in the afternoon.

The rest of the morning was routine, and we had our regularly-scheduled respite care that afternoon from 2 – 6. My wife wanted to work, and I had errands I needed to run, so we agreed to meet at 4:30 for an early dinner at the brewpub near her office.

Over sandwiches and a good dark ale, sitting out on the patio of the brewpub, enjoying a lovely warm autumn afternoon, we talked about my MIL’s health. No, not so much exactly how she was doing (we compare notes on that regularly), but of the likelihood that the end is near, and what that would mean for us and the other family members. Even with a fair amount of chatter around us from other patrons, it was a quiet and relaxed conversation, exploring the emotional landscape of an upcoming death. Both my wife and I have lost other family members often enough that we know this terrain. And we know that while we will grieve, and need to learn to re-integrate ourselves back into regular society, there will also be a sense of relief that this long and difficult time is over.

And that evening, when Lisa dropped off the ziplock with the pill containers from the pharmacy, she also left a handful of different publications from the Hospice, all of them variations on the theme of ‘how to prepare for approaching death’. Yeah, we’d seen most of this material previously in one place or another, but it was evident that she felt we needed to review it now. Getting that was an outside confirmation of what my wife and I had discussed previously, and a lot of what I’ve written about in recent weeks. I suppose we really are getting close.

Jim Downey

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[…] was here this morning for her weekly check-up. Following that, we chatted for a bit outside. As I wrote a week ago, she also sees the signs of end of life approaching. Drop in blood pressure. Decreased […]

Pingback by Take everything you think you know… « Communion Of Dreams

[…] MIL’s hospice nurse was here the week before last, she clearly saw a decline in my MIL, as I noted here. What I didn’t mention in that post was that one of the things she suggested we consider was […]

Pingback by Ethical considerations. « Communion Of Dreams

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