I want to talk to you just a little about hospice. I will share with you the experience we had with my dad and his death.
On Sunday, October 18, 2009, I got word that dad had suffered a massive stroke. I preached the morning service and had planned to preach that evening. I had no idea how bad the stroke was so left that afternoon to see my dad for what I thought would be the last time.
In all honesty it was the last time because over the next few days the most I would get one be one syllable answers and a smile. These would last for a few seconds only. He could not longer swallow. He seemed to recognize us in those few seconds of lucidness but they were very short and fleeting.
He was in the hospital. He couldn’t follow instructions. He had a massive bleed that was one inch by four inches inside his brain, they said. He was hooked to IVs and soon to a feeding tube through the nose. He was being constantly monitored.
The doctors had no idea when he would get better. It could take weeks to months for the clot to be reabsorbed in the body if it ever would. He couldn’t move his right side at all. He couldn’t feed himself, he couldn’t talk, or respond.
Dad had left a living will. Click on the link and read that post. That living will gave us comfort to know what he wanted us to do. He had signed it over ten years before.
The doctors kept wanting to give us false hope. They wanted to hook him to feeding tubes and machines. They wanted to do heroic measures to save what physical life he had. But do not forget what condition he is in and the fact that were going to maintain him as a vegetable until maybe the 80 year old man would recover and maybe get some use of some of his mind and body.
Dad did not wish that for his future. He did not want to be hooked to feeding tubes, machines, etc and to be kept artificially alive. He made that clear in his living will.
We contacted hospice who simply allows you to die comfortably and with dignity. These are the people you call when there is no hope. They allowed dad to die at home in the presence of family and friends and not be hooked up to machines and tubes until he died.
They did a great job. They had social workers, chaplains, nurses, people to help bathe dad, and any other need we had. You can see the hospice concept here.
I am very glad that we were able to work with such good, caring, tender, people as they did everything possible to make my dad’s last few days on this earth comfortable.