He Died and Lived to Tell About It - Heart 'n Home Hospice & Palliative Care, LLC

He Died and Lived to Tell About It

As Thanksgiving approaches, I often think about my patients and those who have embraced hope and happiness, despite their circumstances. In this case, there is one particular patient that comes to mind. I was asked to sign up a patient that lived on the Oregon slope. It was winter and snow was on the roads. When I am headed to a patients home, I often think about them and ponder what I may encounter when I arrive. At that time, I knew very minimal information. I arrived to find a very humble home and circumstances filled with very loving and gracious people.

When I asked the patient to tell me his story, I noticed he had a twinkle in his eye. He began with his marriage to his beautiful wife and his new career as a logger. He worked for his father-in-law and they carpooled to and from the forest where they were logging. One day, while he was at work, a big rig that picked up the logs and moved them to open areas dropped a log on his head. He was instantly killed. The log had fallen on its end, directly on top of his head. The ambulance was called and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

His father-in-law removed the boots from his son-in-law, in hopes of selling them.  Then he went to his daughter and explained what had happened to her husband. I can’t imagine how hard that must have been. His daughter was pregnant and went crazy with grief. She begged and begged her father to take her to her husband. The father tried to explain that her husband was dead and lying in the morgue. However, she was having none of it! He finally consented to take her, hoping that maybe if she saw him, it would help her with acceptance.

When they arrived at the hospital, she was taken to see her husband in the morgue. She immediately demanded that they take him off of the slab, put him in a bed with oxygen, and warm him up. Because everyone was concerned her grief could cause a miscarriage, they decided to pacify her until she could adjust to the fact that her husband was dead. However, after they followed her requests, they realized he was, in fact, not dead. My patient proceeded to tell me that his wife had saved his life! He lived to die another day and that day had come.

While he told me this story he kept saying, “Huh, baby? That’s what happened, huh?” She would look at him sweetly and say, “Yes dear, that’s what happened.”

This man had many, many long days of recovering. He had a crushed diaphragm and his vertebrae were shattered. After multiple operations, he was able to come home to a hospital bed and the care of his wife. One day he woke up and saw his wife cooking, with their baby crying at her feet and sweat pouring off her brow. At that moment he said to himself, “If I don’t get out of this bed she will die trying to save me.” He was determined to get up out of his bed and go to work in order to make a living for his family. He did get up and worked as a truck driver for many years.

This man was on hospice because he struggled to breath and could hardly stand from the pain. It was all a result of the logging accident and how his body was now responding. The love and dedication this man and wife had for each other was very apparent. Her caregiving was some of the best I ever witnessed. It was a privilege to serve them. Have you ever met someone that died and then live to tell about it? Well I have!

This man was so amazing to me. I imagine he had more pain than we could ever understand. Yet, he was such a happy guy. His outlook and positivity were astounding. It makes me wonder, what do I have to be unhappy about? As we serve our patients, we often see dire circumstances, surrounded by pain, loss, and fear. We also see hope, love, and strength. We are so very blessed to be touched by the people we serve. I encourage you to evaluate your outlook this Thanksgiving season. Take the time to be grateful. Celebrate life. Think about the many blessing you have been given.

cindy-leeCindy Lee, RN, CHPN, CHPCA
CEO and Administrator


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My First Thanksgiving – Notes from a Hospice Nurse

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The thoughts of the breakfast, turkey, potatoes, stuffing, pies… it all seemed so overwhelming with the darkness of night still lingering.  My phone range at 6 am and jolted me from my private Thanksgiving Stew.  My patient cried as she explained the mess she was in… “Can you come NOW?” I dressed and tip toed around the nesters quietly asleep on the floor.  I drove the short distance to Sara’s home. The roads were lightly frosted with a fresh skiff of snow. Even the fields around her house seemed silent.

Inside the little house, my patient was embarrassed and so disgusted with the body she could no longer control, that she hid her face under the blanket of her hospital bed. We washed, changed linen, cleaned, sprayed perfume and as we did, she apologetically shared her regret that I had to visit on Thanksgiving Day.  I finished my work and rubbed a fragrant lotion on her feet. I was reminded of the woman who had lavished perfume on Jesus. What an honor to be present today. As Sara shared, she became more tearful. Trying to lighten her burden, I stated, “Let’s think of it this way… if I time it just right, the breakfast will be over, the turkey will be in the oven and I can kick back and relax”. It eased her spirits and we sat together and shared a cup of coffee watching the morning light begin its Holiday.

I drove home crying and wondering why I was so fortunate to be able to “live’ this Thanksgiving and not just “cook” it.   It was a privilege, not a hardship to care for this beautiful woman who was much too young to have lost so much.  I tried to share with my husband the sacredness of these moments spent with a friend forged by the despair of cancer.  There were no words adequate for the task. He looked at me with a blank stare as he shoved the turkey in the oven!  The emotion was personal and private; treasured moments that were my first real Thanksgiving.

~Written by Minda Jacobsen, RN, CHPN, MSHA, Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations at Heart ‘n Home.

Feeling Thankful This Thanksgiving

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This time of year inevitably brings up the topic of gratitude and thankfulness.  Come November, we begin to hear buzz words affirming life. Perhaps through actions or being by emotional support or encouragement to others. Most likely, you will also frequently see what folks are thankful for on their social media feeds.  Whether you think in terms of blessings or privileges, I think we can all agree gratitude is healthy and should be the focus more often.

In hospice, we are reminded daily to count our blessings.  We see disease break down a tired body, cancer take a mother or father entirely too soon from a child, or a weeping spouse of 50 years wanting just one more moment with their loved one.  For those of us who work in hospice, our hearts and minds are reminded to live in the moment and be grateful for the presence of people. May it be your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or perhaps a complete stranger in line at the grocery store.  For some, this will be their last Thanksgiving together and others, their first without a loved one.

Some level of stress or tension is often a part of family get-togethers. Wherever you find yourself on Thanksgiving, try to put aside your differences and focus on the aspects of your family and friends for which you are grateful.  Savor the joyful moments. Take in the smell of the oven-roasted Turkey; take the time to really taste that sweet pumpkin pie smothered in whip cream; listen to the giggles of tiny bodies around you; and if you are lucky enough to have multiple generations present – ask them about the “good ole days” or traditions they enjoyed growing up.

This Thanksgiving season, we are also grateful for our children and grandchildren.  So much that we had a fall/harvest drawing contest for Heart ‘n Home children and grandchildren. We hope you enjoy seeing the creativity and joy from the children who participated.

We would like to give Daisy (daughter of Kevin, Audio and Visual Designer) a warm congratulations. Her drawing was voted as the winner and  has the privilege of gracing the cover of our 2016 Thanksgiving card.


Daisy “2016 WINNER!”























Meet the Artists!


Daisy, Toryn, Josiah
















Counting Thanksgiving Blessings

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We believe our employees are our greatest asset. Everything that Heart ‘n Home is, or will be, is predicated upon our employees and their alignment with the Family Core Values at Heart ‘n Home. When aligned, there is nothing that we can’t do. No mountain that can’t be moved! Our achievements have been a great testament to that end. We have had the opportunity to serve thousands of patients and families.

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