Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Thankfulness for Hospice

Today our new hospice nurse came to visit. Her name is Stacey. I hope we can keep her until we don't need her anymore. I don't do well with change. I never have dealt well with change. Richard was always my rock and he would help me through any changes I ever had to face. Usually trying to convince me that it would probably end up being better. And it usually was. Don't you hate it when they are right? But now he doesn't deal too well with change either. So I hope this is it!

Not only do we have a new nurse, but we have a new Hospice. Our Hospice (which was known as Harden Hospice) was just bought out by Gentiva Health Services, the largest provider of home health services and hospices in the United States (based on revenue). I am hoping and praying this change won't mean anything to us at all. I am hoping and praying that this will just mean that things will only get better.




Anyway back to Stacey. She is around mid-thirties and quite easy to talk to. She included Richard in our conversation (he was having a good day) and took the time that was needed for him to answer her questions. She touched him and I could tell that she will be the kind of nurse who will be caring. Our last hospice nurse only touched Richard when he was taking his vital signs. She has grown as a nurse in hospice, starting as a home health aid and working her way up to her present RN position. She is married to a recovering meth-addict (14 years clean) so that gives me hope in my own situation with my eldest son. She has no children, but does have 'dog babies' and was very interested in hearing all about Darian and Harley. Even asked to see their pictures. Can you believe that? No one asks a grandmother for pictures of her grandkids! She gave me her personal phone number and said that I can text her my supply list or any other questions or concerns at any time. We set up her visits for every Wednesday afternoon, for now.

We also ordered a hospital bed, which will be delivered next week. Richard has been suffering some skin issues and I need to get him out of the chair and off his backside for part of each day. He has fought us every step of the way for the move to a bed. I have promised him that we will only use it at night and if he isn't comfortable will get him back up to the chair. Hopefully, we can ease him into it at least for a few hours at a time. Justin will help me re-arrange and remove furniture this weekend so that the bed can be in the living room. Richard feels like this is the final step. I try to reassure him that isn't necessarily so. But he can be stubborn at times.

His confusion, hallucinations, and paranoia are becoming worse. We often have a man in our house (that only he can see). This man carries a clip board and is making note of all our possessions. I tell the man to leave and usually that works. He sees things on the floor that are not there. And recently he wanted me to help wash all the blood off his hands. There was no blood there. I am thankful for my nurse's training as I wonder how untrained people would deal with all of this. Can you imagine how frightening it would be if you were told there was a man in your house and you couldn't see him?

So this is a little update in the middle of my 30 Days of Thanksgiving. We have much to be grateful for. Today is day 7. The other of my posts can be found here. November is rushing past. What are you thankful for today.

12 comments:

  1. I hope that you get to keep Stacey! She sounds wonderful! I found critical care and hospice nurses to be a special group of people. I don't know how they do it!

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    1. I hope we keep her as well. She has been with this Hospice for 8 years. Time will tell

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  2. Paula, I am so happy that this nurse seems to fit the bill for you. Hospice was a God send to me with my Pops. My Pops also saw people, 2 children in particular were always standing vigil with him, but he recognized that no one else could see them. Pops mind was sharp right until the end. I think they were his guardian angels and I think it was appropriate that they were children because Pops always loved children and they, in turn, loved him. Prayers and Hugs.

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    1. First impression is that she does fit the bill! My mom saw a little girl towards the end....she had a sister who died at age 3. We often wondered if it was her...

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  3. I am thankful for help I am receiving as a caregiver as well. I know there was a time when quality assisted living did not exist. Having been moms in home caregiver for 5 years with no help I thank God every day that this option is there and she can afford it.

    We did hospice in our house for my husbands mother and I remember the sense of relief when the stepped in and took over some of the management. And you are right. Some behaviors are scary. I remember my mother in law walking into our bedroom after we were asleep and standing beside my husband. She woke us saying that she smelled gas in the kitchen. Our house is all electric. No gas in the whole development. We went down to the kitchen and found that she had moved everything from the kitchen onto the dining room table.

    Hospice warned us about all these things but still it was unsettling. That goodness for hospice.

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    1. I need to use hospice better than I currently do. We just have a nurse visit once a week (probably more for me than for him) and we use the equipment and supplies. I give all the care That is how he wants it!

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  4. Thanks for the update. It sounds like you got a great nurse this time. Hopefully she will be the last. Your right, it would probably freak me out a little to hear someone talking of a man in the room that I can't see. But now, with the education I am receiving from you; I wouldn't be freaked out by it. My grandpa (who had Alzheimer's) also had hallucinations about stuff being on his hands. It's tough to watch the one you love, lose so much of their selves. Hugs and prayers for you friend.

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    1. Thanks Cristy. I am glad that I have all of you here to support me. That is why I write about it! Educate and support

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  5. You know, I remember a particular resident I took care of several years ago. He was a former New York firefighter who had a stroke. His deficits included terrible olfactory hallucinations....he smelled smoke 24/7. He would call out "fire, fire, get out, get out" 24/7. He would pull every fire alarm near his room multiple times during the day. Finally, after the fire department started getting pissed at us, we installed a fire alarm on the wall of his room that was hooked to a flashing light in his room. He would pull it, multiple times a day, roll his wheelchair out of the room, and that would settle him. Go figure. Hallucinations are very real to those who are having them, and I'm glad that you have the experience you do, to ease Richard's mind. I'm thinking of you both :)

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    1. It is interesting what kinds of incidents bring on hallucinations. I don't know if it eases Richard's mind, but he is always glad when I kick the dude out of the house :)

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