Last August, when I was at a work meeting, one of my faculty members sought me to out talk about my dad. He wanted to know the latest on the Deathstar and how things were going with my family. I have been amazed at the kindness of the people I work with. His advice to me was this: "When the time comes, do not hesitate one single moment to call hospice. They were so good to my mother as she passed. Be sure to call them and get all the help you need." I have always remembered that.
When things changed this week with my dad and Dr. Colman made the recommendation that we move to hospice care, I was very relieved. But nothing prepared me for the amazing outpouring of kindness that has come our way in the last 24 hours.
Last night we had an assessment nurse come and visit to discuss the hospice program and admit dad into their care. He explained that the entire goal of the program was to keep dad at home and to keep him safe, clean and comfortable. He was incredibly kind to dad and explained that although it might feel like you have to give up some of your manliness - the whole program was designed to help him and his family feel safe and secure. The nurse did a needs assessment and ordered some equipment to make things easier for us at home.
This morning we had a wonderful visit from his assigned nurse. She did a further needs assessment, took all of his vital signs, asked him about pain issues and explained more of how the nursing aspect worked. We had another visit shortly after from the bath aide. She will come in three times a week and help dad with showering and shaving. She reiterated several times, as did all of them, that dad is in charge. That whatever he wants goes. He loved that. :)
Shortly after we were visited by the hospice social worker and the spiritual advisor. They were great. At first it didn't seem like dad was really excited to see her but by the time she left, he asked when she was coming back. She said to him to be sure to live everyday to the fullest and was very fun to talk to. She also had some helpful things for mom.
Next, the physical therapist came by. He did a fall assessment for dad and did a few tests with him. He will be able to continue physical therapy for a few more weeks to see if we can improve some of his independence and his walking ability. They were very fun. Dad kind of gave him a hard time, and he teased dad right back. Before he left, he said he hoped to come back because dad was so much fun.
About an hour later, a very nice man knocked on the door with a delivery of equipment for us. A wheelchair and other equipment was brought so that we have what we need to keep dad safe.
Less than 24 hours after our first visit, we feel very taken care of. Dad will remain at home and get incredible care. I'm grateful for these amazing men and women who are so thoughtful and so kind. They made dad feel at ease and still in charge of everything going on. And best of all -- I feel confident that both mom and dad are going to get the support they need during this difficult time.
Thank you all so much for your love, prayers, and support. Dad loves visitors. If you have a few moments and want to come by - we would love to see you.