Not the “H” word, Hospice! Well…chillax folks, it is not necessarily a bad thing and actually something I will welcome with open arms. Oh no…you may think that positive and upbeat Greta is going to get all depressing on you. Who wants to talk about “end of life” stuff? Well…back to the book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, “Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup–they all die. So do we.” I am a realist. Not getting all depressed facing this, but see Hospice as natural progression in today’s modern society. When my mother-in-law was on Hospice, way back when, for terminal cancer…it was only for people whose end of life was within 6 months. But how do you know, is that always the case, when do you go on it? Heck, my Grandfather has been on and off it as he simply moves to the Hospice ward in the VA Hospital for which he resides.

Learning all the time, I was pleased to find out there were different parameters for Hospice requirements when it comes to Alzheimer’s. At the suggestion of Dad’s former home health nurse (my friend too), I had Hospice come out shortly after Dad arrived in July. If he were actually a couple of pounds lighter at that time, he would have made the cut for Failure to Thrive (what a crazy web we weave as I spent 3 years in & out of hospitals for my #2 son with that very problem). Dad was suffering from his second round of C Diff (yuck, gross…don’t want that again) and had lost a bunch of weight…but not enough.

He came down with an upper respiratory infection over the Thanksgiving holiday and went downhill quick. And by downhill, I mean his mental and physical state. I am still not convinced he does not have another underlying Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) which also can also rock his world – so getting that checked out again today. Heck, I am hoarding specimen cups! To make a long story longer.. after looking at the checklist for Alzheimer’s patients to get into Hospice care, I decided I would give them a call again. My call started with, “I am not sure if he makes the cut yet, but he is probably pretty damn close. I do not want to waste your time if you just want to tell me over the phone.”

Now here is the thing, since they were originally called, they have followed up with me several times to check on dad. I know they are looking for his business, but I do not feel that way about them. They are truly kind, compassionate people – those very special people that get into this field because it is important to them. I do not think one becomes involved in Hospice just because it is a job (never did), but because these people have a true calling. sooner did I call, but a nurse arrived to check on Dad. Based on how he was over the weekend – he met all the benchmarks…but sure as heck…dad sparked up and was spry, chipper and carrying on a conversation with the nurse, garbled…but still able to communicate…that I knew it was a “no go” for him. We do not even have home health now and I do not want to push that as I am not sure he needs it. A Z-pack, arrangements for me to drop off a specimen instead of dragging him in, a fabulous Dr. and nurse, and a friend who is (was) his nurse seems to cover all my bases for now.

I am not crossing fingers for Dad to decline so he makes the “Hospice cut.” Once an Alzheimer’s patient gets in, they get re-certified every 60 days. Certainly I do not want the arrangement to be like a Facebook tumultuous relationship with an on-again, off-again,”complicated” status. When we get there…I want it to be a permanent status and relationship. The Hospice Nurse said it could turn at any time as Alzheimer’s is unpredictable and that he was very close, but not yet. The declined state he had over the weekend needs to be more permanent. Not rushing it…trust me…I enjoy his endless rambling (most the time) and want him to continue to thrive for as long as possible and make some more wonderful memories with the family!

Picture stolen borrowed from here.

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