Friday, April 24, 2020

A Year with Hospice Care

On April 16 we celebrated one year of hospice care for MarySue - a year marked with some anxious moments but with even more moments of joy, happiness, togetherness, and blessings.

We have both commented frequently that when MarySue signed the Hospice papers a year ago neither of us expected that she would still be alive one year later.

We rejoice that not only is she still with us, but that she is still able to enjoy life and continue to do some of the things that make her life meaningful, including listening to audio books and coordinating the Prayer Team of our church.

There were several  times during the past year when the future for MarySue seemed rather limited - such as when there were infections, etc. Also we have seen several times when her need for oxygen has increased. However in the past three months her oxygen needs have remained quite steady.

The past year has been marked by a lot of togetherness which has brought much joy to both of us. Granted, caring for the activities of daily living has consumed much time and energy, but we do enjoy each other’s company even when doing the mundane daily tasks of dressing, caring for oxygen equipment, etc.

But there have been other enjoyable experiences also. A special treat for both of us has been afternoon car rides seeing the sights and becoming better acquainted with the environs of Columbus and Franklin County.  We have discovered the beauty of many of the Franklin County Metro Parks, enjoyed the scenery of the Scioto River Valley, the Alum Creek Dam, the Olentangy River, and the environs of the Hoover Reservoir.

On the tenth of March we enjoyed celebrating MarySue’s 80th birthday online with a Zoom party with online guests from around the United States and across the globe.  Soon afterward we made the difficult decision to discontinue the use of outside caregivers and to self-isolate to avoid the risk of infection with the coronavirus. So in the month since March 17 we have had only two outsiders in our home and they were hospice staff on a required visit and they were wearing masks. Other than that visit, hospice care is currently being done through phone calls and Zoom video conferencing.

MarySue does enjoy trying to function as independently as possible, even though much of the time she needs to rely on assistance.

The arrival of warmer weather means that it is easier for us to get out of doors. MarySue enjoys walking eight to ten minutes very slowly in our Condo drive and parking areas at 15 LPM of oxygen. Frequently after she completes that walk, Bruce will help her into the wheelchair equipped with an E Tank of oxygen and Bruce will push her in the transport chair for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ miles around the neighborhood - thus getting his exercise while MarySue enjoys the sights and smells of spring.

It has been a year of hospice care and we do not know how much longer we will have together, but we have learned together to be thankful for one day at a time, to celebrate the time we have together, and to praise God for all blessings far above measure.