Thursday, May 6, 2010
On my first visit to my hospice patient, I didn't even meet the patient, who was having a very bad day. Instead, I had the opportunity to speak to my patient's primary caregiver and son. They were lovely people, unsure at first what MY purpose was for being there. I explained that I was there only to take care of them; I was that good friend who you would call for help, if only you could bear to bother them. I was there to do some light housekeeping, read to the patient, or sit with them to give the caregiver a break or the chance to leave the home. This seemed to relax them somewhat and they proceeded to talk to me about the situation and how they felt about their loved one's illness. I was struck by how open they were about what was happening and about to happen. When my mother was dying, no one in my family really spoke about the process, how it would look, and what would happen. As an adult, I know now what to expect, but as a young person I would have appreciated the openness exhibited by this family.