“Oh! No way are we gonna let you go,” said Cayce, the nurse practitioner, again come to evaluate my continued participation in hospice, a requirement by Medicare. “Even though there’s been no change in the measurement of your upper arm,” she added. She had already noted the new symptoms of my lung disease and taken my vital signs—all normal.

“Can we talk about my hands?” I asked as I showed them to her. “More crippling in my fingers since your last visit. Do you know if this symptom is worsening my Interstitial Lung Disease, since it’s associated with it?”

“That, I don’t know, Liz, but I’ll find out and get back to you.”

Cat Scans taken of my lungs during my last six hospital admissions indicated its slow progress, but since I’m receiving hospice, now in my tenth month, Medicare denies payment for such tests.

Cheerfulness softened her eyes as she admired the arrangement of white tulips on the dining room table. “So lovely!” she said, her words somewhat muffled by her protective mask. “I always love seeing them when I come here.” Three days old, each tulip had bowed its petalled cup in a concentric circle as if paying homage to Creator God. Their transient beauty reminded me of my own mortality, with its daily dying.

As Cayce zipped shut her case and prepared to leave, she said, “And great that you continue your exercises, especially the deep breathing ones. They’re keeping you going—No matter that you’re slowing down. This is working out.”

Her encouragement was balm to my soul and a reminder to let go of the outcome, another opportunity for accepting life on life’s terms as practiced in CPA. I’ve much to learn…