CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- We knew that the day was coming. The trips to the emergency room, followed with tests, procedures, office visits, on and on. What we didn't know was when that day would actually come.
But it did, and we were given the final diagnosis: organs shutting down, a rupture somewhere in the digestive system, organs too weak to survive the needed procedures.
The doctor was so good to take the time to explain that the best course of action was to make the patient comfortable through palliative care. She would contact HospiceCare.
This was followed by a night in the hospital waiting for the social worker from HospiceCare. Esther, my wife, was in tentative spirits when the social worker arrived. He was pleasant, asking us questions, checking medical records and said that he would check for bed availability at Hubbard Hospice House. With those words we began the final journey.
How does one begin to describe Hubbard Hospice House? The large patients' rooms are open, spacious, well-furnished and arranged not only to care for the patient, but to provide patient, family and friends comfort and support. My wife spent the day fully alert and responsive.
Our three adult children became concerned that food and water weren't offered to their mother. A staff member took time to explain to them that as the body starts shutting down, it doesn't want or need food and that forcing solid and liquids causes the patient discomfort and pain.
We were told that there was a family room with hot soup, beverages and a full kitchen that the family could use and to make ourselves at home. The only conflict we witnessed (through windows) was birds trying to get the squirrels out of their feeders.