End of Life Trauma Part 7 – Hospice

We are closing in on the last few posts about “End Of Life Trauma”. I hope this series is at least a little helpful to you in understanding these matters. While I had some exceptional support during this “Hospice” period, it was one of the most stressful things I have ever had to deal with in my life.

As I mentioned in my last post in this series, one of the few doctors who really seemed to care much about my wife as a person and all her suffering, managed to get us into a hospice facility within hours of my wife refusing the feeding tube. He told us that she would likely last about two weeks. At the time, I had assumed he also relayed this info to the hospice facility.

My wife was in the hospital for four days before that. The usual myriad of tests were performed, and almost everyone was focused on curing her of her many maladies. But, there was one doctor who recognized how much she was suffering. He was one of the brave ones who gave us the facts.

She was taken by medical transport from the hospital to the Hospice House, and I followed along in my car. When I went inside the facility, I was very impressed! She was in a large single room with a couch for my future naps, and big windows with beautiful views. The staff was small but very supportive of her, and my, needs. One of the first things they did, which was common for most of these type facilities, was to start administering morphine to eliminate her now constant pain. They told me I could stay as long as I wanted during my visits and could come anytime day or night. Given all the pandemic rules at the hospital, that impressed me, but then the hidden things started happening in the background. On the third or fourth day, a social worker showed up as she was sitting on the side of the bed. The social worker made some comments that my speech-to-text app didn’t pick up, but she had almost a frown on her face. It would be a few more days before I discovered what that was all about.

About one week into the expected two-week stay, I was informed that she would have to leave that facility. She just wasn’t dying fast enough! Of course, that brought on yet another, and perhaps my biggest Aspie meltdown. I blurted out that the doctor clearly said she would likely survive two weeks, so why were you kicking her out after only one! It seems the social worker had decided that she wasn’t as sick as the doctor said. No one came right out and said that, but it is what I inferred.

At that point, I clearly remembered my previous promise to my “dearly beloved” that she would not die in one of the county nursing homes that she hated so much. I also remembered that none of the reputable facilities had room for her. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place, so to speak. The eventual solution to this seemingly unsolvable problem will be the topic of the next post in this series.

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