Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Saturday, August 29, 2009

My Dad and an Appointment With Hospice

I just got off the phone with the Hospice nurse. She will be coming to see us on Monday at 1:00. When I returned the original call...I thought I was calling Home Health. I cannot even explain to you what happened when the person on the other end of the phone answered....Lake Martin Hospice. I thought I was going to die right then and there. My aunt was a Hospice worker for a number of years....I know what Hospice is about...but...I also knew I was going to have to be strong for my mom...so I did a little research....and I need to share it with you so I can cope with this devastating event in my life. My dad's back began to hurt a couple of weeks ago when he stepped out of the car. Mom took him to the doctor, he ran a series of outpatient tests...perscribed lortab for pain, a muscle relaxer for the back....and then a few days later called in an antibiotic for the kidney infection...but the back is still hurting....why? Cancer is back....it is riddling his body with pain...he barely moves, he does not eat, he sleeps an abnormal amount, he is lifeless....so I took off Monday to go with my parents to see Dr. Powers...but then I found the message from Hospice saying Dr. Powers had referred Daddy to them...at that moment in time...it was a death sentence. I wanted someone to hold me...and make it go away...I wanted my daddy to be strong and vibrant again...but that is not the way the story is leading. So in my research I found the American Cancer Society site...again. I had visited them back in December when my dad was first diagnosed with lung cancer. I am trying to cope right now...but not doing it well...so here is what I found.

From the American Cancer Societies website I found this information. "Hospice, in the earliest days, was a concept rooted in the centuries-old idea of offering a place of shelter and rest, or "hospitality" to weary and sick travelers on a long journey. In 1967, Dame Cicely Saunders at St. Christopher's Hospice in London first applied the term "hospice" to specialized care for dying patients. Today, hospice care provides humane and compassionate care for people in the last phases of incurable disease so that they may live as fully and comfortably as possible.

Hospice is a philosophy of care. The hospice philosophy or viewpoint accepts death as the final stage of life. The goal of hospice is to enable patients to continue an alert, pain-free life and to manage other symptoms so that their last days may be spent with dignity and quality, surrounded by their loved ones. Hospice affirms life and does not hasten or postpone death. Hospice care treats the person rather than the disease; it focuses on quality rather than length of life. Hospice care is family-centered care -- it involves the patient and the family in making decisions. Care is provided for the patient and family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Hospice care can be given in the patient's home, a hospital, nursing home, or private hospice facility. Most hospice care in the United States is given in the home, with a family member or members serving as the main hands-on caregiver.

Hospice care is meant for the time when cancer treatment can no longer help you, and you are expected to live 6 months or less. Hospice gives you palliative care, which is treatment to help relieve disease-related symptoms, but not cure the disease; its main purpose is to improve your quality of life. You, your family, and your doctor decide together when hospice care should begin.

One of the problems with hospice is that it is often not started soon enough. Sometimes the doctor, patient, or family member will resist hospice because he or she thinks it means you're giving up, or that there's no hope. This is not true. If you get better or the cancer goes into remission, you can be taken out of the hospice program and go into active cancer treatment. You can go back to hospice care at a later time, if needed. The hope that hospice brings is the hope of a quality life, making the best of each day during the last stages of advanced illness."

Please pray for my family and I as we walk down this dark road. I know my father is a Christian...and I truly do not want him to suffer anymore...but as you all know...I am a daddy's girl...and an only child...and I am going to have to start dealing with saying goodbye to my dad...and letting go. Suzy Bogus did a song several years ago...that is about Letting Go...it is about letting go of a child...but it applies just as well right now. Oh letting go...

9 comments:

Patty Reiser said...

Desert Greetings Karen.
My heart goes out to you and your family. As do my prayers.
As an only child, I know how hard it is to see your father suffering. I was there for my dad during his battle with an illness. He past away 10 years ago this past March.

Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest
Patty
http://pkphotography.us

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

It's hard - I know -- In fact just today I was wondering why I feel so like hanging on to Summer - THIS summer -- I'm always so eager for Fall to arrive - usually my favorite season. It suddenly dawned on my that our Dads are aging and becoming frail -- I know that their time with us is short and I just want it and them to linger on -- just a little longer--- please.

♥ Teresa ♥ said...

Hi Karen, I'm was just stopping in from SITS to share some comment love.

My heart is literally breaking for you and your family. I have not yet suffered the loss of a parent but I have gone through that journey with my husband just 3 short years ago. I know it is not the same but I can imagine it just a little because I was very close to my husband's dad as we have been married 19 years. He was an incredible man who gave so much to his family. He had lung cancer and emphysema that made his last days so very difficult. Ultimately, he, too, was placed in the care of hospice. And, my oh my, they were amazing people, too. I don't know what we would have done without them. They were definitely some of THE most compassionate people I have ever had the pleasure of coming into contact with. They are truly there for your every need no matter how great or how small. They did anything we asked - and more - and they always kept us up-to-date. My FIL stayed at his home for a very long time with hospice coming in to check in on him and take care of him almost daily. Then toward the end, he was moved to a facility because he required care (breathing treatment and suction) that could not be administer in his home. He truly was at peace when he passed away on a Sunday morning while he was sleeping. Our whole family has nothing but excellent feelings about our experience with hospice.

I know it is not something you ever want to have to deal with but if you come to need their services, they can literally be a Godsend. If you have any questions or just want to chat, please feel free to contact me.

I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

Blessings,

Teresa <><

http://toomanyheartbeats.blogspot.com

Ms. Marty said...

My dear friend,
How very sad it makes me to hear the pain in your voice. Getting the news that a parent has been placed under hospice care must be terrible. I do not know.
My ladies' group at church cook, pack and freeze meals for hospice families. The nurses recogonize the need and will tell the coordinator who comes to the building and gets the meals. These are not just for needy families as far as finances, but for families that just need a break from the daily routine. I know from this how compassionate and caring these people are. From being at some of the memorial services I have been able to see how close the family members and the hospice team members grow.
I pray there will not be a lot of pain for your dad and that he can remain as comfortable as possible. Who knows they may have to "expell" him from hospice care. The Great Physician hasn't made the final call yet.
Stay strong in your faith and you will prevail.

Michaela said...

{{{Hugs}}} I came over wanting to thank you for stopping by my blog, but I felt you could use a big hug too. I'm so sorry to hear about your father. My heart and prayers go out to you and your family.

wind6 said...

My friend - this is so hard. There aren't a lot of words of comfort that will help are there? I know you will forge through this as you have so many times on your life road. You have many friends that love you and will be here for you.
I think it's wonderfully sweet that you can still call yourself a "daddy's girl". What great memories you must have of a life with your dad.
I'll see you at church this morning...I wasn't sure I was coming to the Arbor today....I think a friend needs a hug!
Love you!!

Jacki said...

Karen,
My heart breaks as I read this post! It's all too new to me too. As you know, I just lost my baby brother in June to Kidney Cancer.
We also enrolled him in Hospice.

What an awesome organization! Mike's workers were such a blessing, not only to him, but to the family as well.
The new rules of Hospice are a life expectancy of 12 months or less.
PLEASE, let them do their job! Use their services! For 3 1/2 months...we wanted/needed for nothing! They were awesome christian people that knew their stuff!
I thank God for them every day!
If only everyone was not afraid of their services, and let them become a part of their lives. They will LOVE your dad, as well as the rest of your family!
AND...they stay with you for 12 months after the passing of your loved one!
PLEASE email me if you have any questions at all!
((HUGS))
Jacki

Kelly said...

I'm giving you a bloggy hug. You'll be in my prayers. I can imagine how hard this is for you. I love my dad dearly also.

♥Trina♥ said...

I can't say anything except that I'm just across the hall ANYTIME you need ANYTHING. I love you!