So many people relate the word Hospice to AIDS. Sure back when many started dying from AIDS, Hospice Centers popped up all over. But now, Hospice is available for all terminally ill people. It is not just restricted to AIDS patients. Even I related Hospice to the place people go when they have AIDS. It wasn’t until my very own father decided to go the route of Hospice that I learned differently.
A healthy, strong, vibrant man for being 80 years old. He was still welding and rebuilding trains at the time. He started having many mini strokes which led him to the hospital for tests. They couldn’t understand why such a lively, healthy, strong man was having strokes. Tests showed that his carotid artery had a 90% blockage and that was causing the strokes. His back was put up to a wall. He was told, either have the blockage removal surgery which could cause stroke complications or die in a couple days of a massive stroke. Being so vibrant, he chose the surgery. He came out of the surgery fine and was talking in the recovery room. A day later they discovered internal bleeding, exploratory surgery was necessary. He didn’t come out of this surgery as well. Due to his age, it was just too many surgeries, too soon. He remained in a coma for a week. I flew out to be with him, and fortunately he came out of the coma.
This good news didn’t last long. For some reason, everything he ate hospice care near me or drank went into his lungs. They started the procedure of suctioning his lungs. A very painful experience. Each time they suctioned them, it damaged the lungs more. They took him back into surgery and put in a trach tube so he could breathe easier.
The next day, He needed his lungs suctioned again, the trach did no good. The final diagnosis: Spend his remaining days in a nursing home and be fed intravenously. Not the life my father chose.
He pondered his situation for a couple days, then called us all in.
There was no way he would spend his life in bed with a feeding tube. That just wasn’t living. He decided to have all tubes removed and go to a hospice center where he could die in peace.
Of course, removing all tubes meant no food or water. He would literally die from lack of water. We found a hospice. There were no strict nurses that kicked you out of the room, or told you to quiet down. There was no such thing as visiting hours. Each room had it’s own private entrance and you could come and go as you please. The nurses were not there to watch his health, they were there to ensure his comfort.
Hospice had a kitchen with snacks, and microwaves, fridges, and ovens for your meal preparations. They provided the family with juice, pop, water etc. They had books on grief. They were always very friendly and understanding. They knew you were grieving and did all they could to help you through it.