Re: Article on Hospice by Atul Gawande

Tommy do not fear, you will be in charge. Suggestion: You should ask Hospice to explain to Judy why pain meds must be taken on a timely basis. If the pain is allowed to get out of hand by not being on a regiment, it is harder to get the pain under control. This happened to Teddy. Once he understood their explanation he was so much better. OOPS second suggestion: Have you and Judy sat down and talked frankly about who is going to make decisions down the road? I strongly suggest it. Let her know she can trust you with the guidance of Hospice to make her decisions and maybe when she says she does, that will give you more confidence about it all. Part of our role as care giver and advocate is to step up and make the decisions along with our loved one for as long as we can then we can quietly slip into the solo decision maker when needed. Best wishes.

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: Article on Hospice by Atul Gawande

Tommy, you and Judy should have a caring discussion about Judy's desires and follow Betsy's advice regarding the Durable Power of Attorney and Living Will. In our area those are required to enter hospice. We have two types of hospice, one in which they can be called in prior to a 6-month survival projection and the other is a 6-month prognosis. I think that hospice is as much for the living as for the patient as you can get so much support from their knowledge regarding end-of-life issues, particularly pain control. Judy's wish to be in charge at this time is important to her since her health has been taken out of her hands. Once she feels she can give up that control the nurses will guide you in her care. My experience is that the pain meds are given as needed, not on a specific schedule. Sometimes the person wants to be more alert and aware than the meds allow so they exchange some pain for the ability to enjoy family and friends. When the pain is too great, Judy will use the medications. Then it will be important to stay on top of the pain, not allowing it to become too severe before meds are administered. Never worry about taking too much. May God keep you in his hands as you walk this path with Judy. You sound like a loving husband...

Re: Article on Hospice by Atul Gawande

Thank you all for the advice and well wishes. We do have a living will and Durable Power of Attorney naming me as the decision maker. I get so involved trying to take care of Judy that I forget what all we have done. Thanks for reminding me. I will talk with Judy's nurse and Judy about the importance of staying on top of these meds. Right now she is coming out once a week to check on things and that seems to be working pretty well. The Nurse said she will come more often as the need arises, I just hope I recognize the need before it becomes unbearable for Judy. With the help of our three girls I feel pretty confident we will take good care of Judy.  Thank you again for everything.     Tommy

Re: Article on Hospice by Atul Gawande

Dear Tommy, you are renamed Tom Terriffic! You are a wonderful husband and Care Taker. Not to worry you will know when its time for what ever you need to do. Three girls? Thats also pretty terriffic!

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.