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My Mother, My Best Friend
My mother, my best friend, had been declining for months and had told me she had enough. “Rehab was for the birds”, I recall her saying. She was ready to go. She wanted to be in her home and by this point she required twenty-four hour care. We knew if we were going to take her home we were going to need more help.
We got mom home and settled. I knew I needed to call hospice but I wasn’t ready yet. I told myself I was fine and that I could handle it all myself. I knew everything about the dying process, I was in touch with my feelings, I could recite the steps of grief. What more did hospice have to offer me? That thought lasted one day before acute urinary retention announced itself at midnight and became progressively worse. My mother was in pain. I did not have the supplies I needed to rectify the situation and could not get them at that hour. Her discomfort increased and by 3:30am we were both in tears. She was too frail for an ambulance ride and she begged not to take her back to the hospital.
I picked up the phone and called hospice. Within thirty minutes the nurse had picked up supplies, talked to my mother’s physician, arrived at the house and took handle of the situation. When I went back in the room I immediately knew my mother was more at ease than she had been since coming home. She was peaceful, felt safe and so did I.
My mother lived five days on hospice. I was holding her hand when she died with my husband, her nursing assistant and nurse next to me. I wasn’t a doctor during those five days, I was a daughter. I was a daughter who will forever be grateful for and humbled by the loving support that enveloped us from our Community Hospice staff.
Written by Dr. Beth Hodges
Dedicated to the life of Faye Gillen - August 16, 1931 - April 14, 2010