In celebration of National Hospice & Palliative Care Month, we would like to share a story.
When I came home for Thanksgiving, Mom looked so different. It had only been six months since I had seen her, but she had lost so much weight. Her clothes were hanging off her. She was moving much slower, and she barely touched her favorite part of Thanksgiving—the pecan pie. I wasn’t sure what to do. That is when a friend suggested I call Central Wyoming Hospice & Transitions. I did. It was one of the hardest calls I have ever made, but also one of the best calls.
That afternoon, a nurse came over to visit us. She explained that the hospice team would help take care of my mother, me, and the rest of our family. They could provide visits from nurses, home health aides, volunteers, social workers, chaplains, and even a Nurse Practitioner. She told us that they would help get Mom a hospital bed and walker or wheelchair if she needed it. The nurses would also help manage her medications. Her regular doctor would continue to be her doctor, and the hospice staff would coordinate her care. The nurse said we would be a part of every decision, they weren’t here to tell us what to do, but to support us through this journey.
I knew Mom didn’t want to go to the hospital anymore, but I wasn’t sure how that would really look or how I would be able to respect this decision. Hospice was exactly what I needed.
Losing my Mom was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced. I know the Thanksgiving table will feel different this year, but I also know my Mom enjoyed her final months. She looked forward to the hospice nurse’s visits and her talks with the chaplains. One of my favorite memories is walking into Mom’s home and seeing a home health aide curling Mom’s hair after she had just painted Mom’s nails bright pink. I will miss her every day, but I know she was cared for, she was comfortable, and she was at peace.