Monday, September 10, 2007

Quick Updating Blog, Before I Rush Off to Work...

I was in Hospice with Aunt Tod nearly all weekend. She is comfortable. Jackie stopped by for quite a while both days and Wendy and Phil came by together once, then Wendy came back with Jackie Sunday. And Aunt Tod knows we have been there... but she's getting to a place now where, when she opens her eyes, she no longer sees us. She looks heavenward; the nurses say that's very normal and that she might be seeing other realms now. If so, what she's seeing is peaceful.

She loves having her hand held. If we stop, she gets more restless -- but even so, just barely restless... nothing at all major. I think she just wants to know we're there.

I am just a block away from Hospice where I work, so I will be with her at noon and after work and the nurses will call me, and then Jackie (who is farther away) if they begin to notice signs that her time to pass is nearing, so I can get there in a heartbeat and we can hold her hand...

The doctor doesn't expect her to be here past Tuesday. That's good because last night she started to itch a little (because of the toxins building up in her body, six days after her last dialysis treatment and because her body is slowly shutting down). A nurse immediately increased her morphine drip and then washed her chest and face, the areas where she was trying to scratch. They are on top of it and will be sure she is comfortable.

If you ever have to experience someone dying over a course of days, I highly recommend the Hospice experience, whether in your own home or in a Hospice facility. Well-trained and compassionate Hospice staff makes the experience truly survivable, even wonderful in many ways. And if you're not spiritual, they won't force it on you. If you are, they will send by appropriate clergy to minister to both your dying loved one and you and your family.

They are all God's earth angels helping to walk a loved one through the Valley of the Shadow of Death... and they do a beautiful job of it. Jackie said it must be one of the hardest jobs on the planet. I don't think so, as long as the dying person's family is on board and understanding and accepting of what is happening. A Hospice nurse told me once, "If it weren't for the families of the dying, this would be a terrific job, but so many of them fight death, and are in need of care themselves emotionally and spiritually that they are just wrecks."

I get that. I've seen it myself, with Dad and others. The sooner loved ones can relax into the realization that we all die, and that it is the loved one's time to go, the better it actually is for the one who's dying! They want their loved ones to be okay with their going -- at peace with it. Not easy to do, but do-able.

It would be tougher with a child or with a younger adult, I'm sure. Agreed, Hospice is not an easy job, or a job just anyone can do well -- but loving and caring for the dying person is the easiest, best part of it...

I know. I've been there.

Just love them.

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