Signing up for hospice care is a big decision. Most folks sign up and decide they are okay to stop "seeking" treatment and think that since they are not treating their condition/cancer, they will die...and they hope that it comes quickly.
If you are getting blood drawn and levels told to you and you drive many miles to sit in a chair to have chemo dripping in your veins...you may think that you will leave this earth quickly because you are not doing the things to stay alive. If you take only one pain pill because you might get addicted even when you still hurt alot and could use two...after you get comfortable, you think you may die quickly.
Here's the deal...you may, but in most cases, you may not. As a nurse that cares for the living and the dying...I honor what you think you need to do and what you think will happen but honestly, life as in death...things don't always happen as we think they will.
I have a patient that is young and he is very sick with cancer and he was supposed to die 6 months ago...looked terrible and thought it was over. Then, they changed things around and he is still here, living his life as he sees fit, loving his young wife and living every day.
I tell my patients..."You can always die, you have cancer/illness that can take you...but for today, you might as well live." And they do...and they do it well. I can't change the diagnosis but I can help that person understand that the time they have is theirs and theirs alone...and there is no right or wrong.
I thing most folks entertain what the end of their life will look like...how they are supposed to die. I love that movie, "Grumpy old men" when the guy dropped dead and Walter Mathau said..."Lucky bastard" because he didn't know it was coming. I think that's how I want to go but I know I will probably not go that way!
Anyway, I'm here to tell you that there is no right or wrong way to die...only the way that you do it. When you get that diagnosis and fight the good fight and decide you want to stop the fight and accept, the fight is over but life is not...the living is not. It's changed and the focus is making the most of every minute with who you want to. You become the director of your time... If you wake up one day and can't stand the thought of being awake dealing with your life, you choose to take the day to sleep. Because you are tired, sad and need a mental break...just do it and languish in the comfort of your bed with whoever you want in bed with you and dream sweet dreams. If you need to get your life in order...do it. Then, you get to rest in the comfort that all is in order for when you need it to be. Some folks are stoic and don't want to miss a second of time because they need pain medication...okay...but I know when they really need it, they have and will give themselves permission to be comfortable. Then there are some folks who want and need a dose every time they can have it and that is the right way for them to handle the pain and cherish the time they have.
I am thinking of this tonight for a couple of reasons...I am so lucky to care for folks in their homes...and be with them in the most difficult and intimate time of life. I get to encourage them to live without limits, to remember who they really are and who they really love...authentic feelings that come when we know time is limited.
Because I have this honor, it makes me more aware of my blessings, the profound moments in my life and the things that don't matter. I am one lucky old broad.
So this weekend...love your people, look deeply into their eyes and drink in the moment...laugh at silliness and cry at the sadness...feel it all because we never know when our time is limited and we wish we did that all along.
Just do it!
I love you all...and I do,
We'll tawk tomorrow,