Well yesterdays appointments went as well as could be expected. The hospice nurse D and the social worker J were lovely. They explained the process. I learned that hospice doesn't just come in at the bitter end of a person's life; they come into a family's life when the ill person has decided to seek no further treatment for whatever terminal illness the are facing. The shared that some patients have been with hospice for over a year. I was surprised, and relieved by this information. They have quite a team. Nurses, social workers, chaplains, nursing assistants, and volunteers. They will acquire whatever Dad needs. They will take some of the burden off of us. They will help with meals, showers and meds. They will talk to us and Dad. They are like a beacon of hope in the very dark sea that we have been sailing.
We also met with Dr. O yesterday. He was uncharacteristically kind and compassionate. He was clear and concise in his explanation to Dad of the choices available. He could choose the surgery or choose to do nothing. He explained that by choosing the surgery it would mean a hospital stay, a rehab recovery and a change in quality of life. He then went on to explain that choosing to do nothing would mean that hospice could come in and give us support keep Dad comfortable and keep Dad at home. It would mean that he would die in 6 months maybe later maybe sooner. He explained that by sitting at home and not making a choice he really is making a choice. The choice to do nothing. I told Dad that it was OK if he wanted to choose to do nothing. It was OK. At that point Dad said that he really didn't want to do anything. Dr. O simply said OK and proceeded to call the Hospice team to discuss some particulars. There was not judgement. It was good.
So now there is a kind of relief. Dad has a better appetite. We'll be getting a wheel chair. We are planning to go out and do fun things; Cupcake Charlies, Daniel Webster Pub, Christmas lights, visits with relatives. He doesn't have to worry about a hospital stay or doctors appointments. We can just be.