“I really didn’t wanna come here! But I had to have a conversation about my chronic lung infections—with you guys! I’m sick of them!” The ER doc dragged a stool next to the gurney that I was sitting on, the spread draped across my lap, my sandals dangling from my feet. From a deep place in my psyche, I heard words spewing forth like pent-up mountain streams, clean from ego-driven demands.

He listened, with full heart, as did others during the next forty-eight hours following my admission to the hospital. I was on a fact-finding mission. More questions surfaced in an orderly direction, totally beyond my imagining. I was breathless as the new direction of palliative care for my interstitial lung disease began to emerge. It was like listening to a composer experiment with harmonious chords: each confluence of notes warmed my heart.

Clearly, I did not want more infusion therapy for my recurring lung infections, my experience of the past thirteen months. Six treatments had already diminished my functioning, and I was losing ground, fast.

Indeed, I would follow this hospice path. There was nothing to be decided. Never again would I be hospitalized or suffer long hours tethered to an IV infusion pump. Never again endure needles, tests, the heart monitor, vital signs around the clock, restorative therapies, food empty of nutrition, demented roommates, and the noise of television—and this last admission, construction noises on the street.

That night, all treatment stopped. I felt free. I was going home.