The H Bomb

Thursday, February 17, 2011

(On Wednesday, February 16, Dr. David Stack of Group Health Cooperative met with our immediate family to assess and discuss Dave’s overall health, palliative care and provide plans for his home healthcare. To our surprise, the discussion was moved from the home care realm to hospice care.)

I don’t usually know my blog post title until I have completed my journal entry. This morning it was foremost in my mind. The H Bomb: Hospice.

It takes a certain special finesse to deliver difficult news. Dr. Slack has it. Calm, reassuring, understanding, listening, compassion and passion, he meets people where they are. Yes, meeting people where they are. This may be key to any grief journey.

No doubt as I struggle with the financial, legacy, emotional, and spiritual to-do lists I create for myself, I back up against (perceived or real) ideas of “where they are at.” Some things I am tackling on my own just because the people around me are not ready or able or need to be thinking in the same terms as I do. They aren’t where I’m at. This seems to be another pointer to how the relationship to the disease dictates some of our comprehension. How can a child respond in the same time frame as a spouse or even the patient themselves? It just can’t be done.

When I look at the last few days’ entries, especially how Dave and I thought things would play out since the diagnosis, I see that there is disparity for being on the same page. Until now, we’ve been able to live in our own individual sense of reality about Dave’s prognosis. The conversation with Dave, me, Leah, Dr. Slack, Nurse Laura and Social Worker Sharon was clearly the necessary step to set us all on the same plane. It is helpful to get the outside objective perspective; even when you don’t like what you hear.

No matter what we thought yesterday morning, this morning Dave is heading into the Hospice program. Eloquently stated by Dr. Slack, hospice care is about giving Dave and his family, us, the time to live as comfortably and to love as openly as possible in the coming months. Medical science per se cannot change this ultimate direction.

On Tuesday we’ll have his older kids over for the family meeting. I thought it would be for our pre-planning conversation. Now it will be our “make every minute the best of every day” meeting and to get on the same page.

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