I still can't believe that we are there; at that point where the Doctor looked at me, and said "I think it's time to call in Hospice".
In my heart of hearts, I knew it was time. Probably past time; we have been making heroic efforts to care for Mom on our own for a long time, and it was the catastrophic reaction that finally tipped the scales.
Imagine, if you can, trying to care for someone who is scared of her own poop. Who is now scared *to* poop. Because she just can't understand it anymore.
I ran into a friend of ours, just the week before, when I was out shopping. She lost her husband nearly 5 years ago, and when she asked how my Mom was doing, I asked her who the Hospice group was that she had used. Just in case. I made a quick note in my iPhone with her answer, and after a few more minutes, we parted company.
I was glad that I had that information, because the Hospice group that she had used with her hubby had been fantastic. I remembered how, even in her grief, she had praised every one from that organization, telling us over and over how amazing they were.
So, when the Doctor asked me - do you have a Hospice organization in mind? I had a ready answer. And, so far, our Hospice team has been great. They are so sweet and gentle with Mom, and they have been so patient with me, and all of my questions.
Our Hospice is a non-profit, church-affiliated group that takes anyone, regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay.
There is a 24/7 phone number I can call, if I need to ask a question, and Mom's "team" is made up of two nurses, two aides, a social worker, and a chaplin. Oh, and there is the DME guy, who delivers all of the medical equipment, and also the pharmacy delivery guy, who brings out all of her prescriptions.
We have gone from struggling through every day, to suddenly having an almost mind-boggling amount of help and support.
I feel both relieved, and sad.
We have no way of knowing how much longer Mom has with us. She was placed into Hospice on the basis of "failure to thrive", with a diagnosis of dementia.
The "rule" for Medicare is that a Hospice patient is expected to live 6 months or less in order to qualify for Hospice.
However, both our Doctor and the Hospice Director told me that they personally know of patients who have lived *years* under Hospice care, so I am NOT going to assume anything regarding Mom's time left.
We are just going to try and enjoy as much as we can with her, and love her every day that we have left.
In the end, that's what we should do with ALL of our loved one's, right?