Facing the fact that a person may qualify for hospice is difficult. Admitting that death is near weighs heavily on the patient and their family. I recently admitted a patient whom I thought was going to have a hard time accepting the hospice role and philosophy. However, once I got to their home the patient and his wife were more than willing to hear how we could help and were so thankful that we came to them. I could feel the relief between both of them.
I’d like to paint the picture a little bit. Scott and Ann (names changed for privacy) are not even 70 years old yet. So, relatively young. Ann looks very healthy and vibrant, but you can see the worry on her face. They don’t have much. They live in a tiny little apartment. They both are sleeping on an air mattress. Their room is barely big enough to walk around the air mattress. The furniture in the tiny living room is simply a futon and a small folding table for Ann to do computer work at. Despite their home being small and sparsely furnished it feels warm and inviting. Ann has house plants and succulents throughout the home and it feels very nature-like even inside their home.
Scott and Ann only just found out about Scott’s terminal diagnosis about six months ago. While educating Scott and Ann on the declines to expect with Scott’s specific condition and planning for them, Ann became tearful. At this point, Scott looked at her with all the love in his eyes shining through and offered her a fist bump. He is weak, can barely sit up on his own. A FIST BUMP! Somehow, this small yet kind gesture made me realize something I’ve known for a while, but always need a reminder of.
We are only given one chance on this earth.
It is up to us to decide what we are going to do with it. I feel like so many times we get caught up in the materialistic side of life and forget about the things that are most important. As a hospice nurse, I feel blessed to have these constant reminders given to me when I’m least expecting them.
Being a hospice nurse has made me a better person. I’m no longer worried about “keeping up with the Jones’s.” I am able to focus my energy on my life and what is important to me. In the end, it doesn’t matter what we have or don’t have. What matters are the people around us and creating a connection with them. I want to be like Scott and Ann and have a “Fist Bump” relationship. I will forever be thankful to this beautiful couple for putting things into perspective for me.
They thanked me and we hugged before I left. I don’t think they will ever know the impression they left on me during our short time together but I will never forget them or their Fist Bump.
Dealing with a life-limiting illness is never easy. Remember that you are not alone. Heart ‘n Home is available to provide physical, emotional, and spiritual support during this very difficult time. We have many options available to you with our hospice services. If you are not quite hospice ready, we even have a C.A.R.E. Program where we can help you find the resources that you need and then follow up and help as your needs change. With our support, we can lighten your load and help you have extra time to do the things that you want to do. Contact us today to learn more.
-Amber, Heart ‘n Home Nurse