My family met with hospice yesterday and my mother qualifies for care under the diagnosis of “debility,” also known as failure to thrive. It’s my understanding that mom didn’t qualify under “dementia” because she can still walk. When you look at my mom you wouldn’t think she’s ready for hospice, but when you put everything together it makes sense:
- terminal illness
- requires assistance in all Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
- weight loss — 13 pounds since December
- difficulty swallowing
Saying YES to the “comfort care” of hospice means saying NO to life saving measures. It indicates surrender and turning towards death rather than away from it. It means 911 will not be called if my mom has another seizure, and antibiotics are an option if she gets pneumonia again. It feels a little bit like playing God, but mostly, it just feels like compassion.
Mom supported Jack Kevorkian’s mission and believed we should be as kind to humans as we are to animals. Mom would approve of this hospice plan because if she could articulate her thoughts, I’m pretty sure she’d say she’s had enough.
Hospice will need to re-qualify mom in three months to determine if services are still necessary, but she isn’t getting better and I’m guessing she’ll be re-approved.
So there it is. We don’t know how much longer little Ruthie Hall from Wadena, MN will be with us, but I am not ashamed to hope for a swift and peaceful transition.