One year has passed since signing up for hospice for which I am still eligible, per Medicare’s guidelines for participation. Aside from my lung issues, my advanced age also qualifies me.

That first week of hospice was overwhelming. In and out of my front door streamed hospice staff, each with their expertise: the nurse’s explanation of hospice with its multiple forms requiring my signature, the social worker’s information about burial plans and agencies with paid caregivers, and the chaplain with spiritual balm for my frazzled spirit. In and out of my front door also streamed deliveries of a concentrator, six tanks of oxygen, and a portable oxygen tank, followed by Mucinex from hospice’s pharmacy. My lawyer, funeral director, and Pastor also visited and received the final touches for my burial plans. Then, my phone kept ringing with teary-eyed friends.

Admittedly, that week of high drama felt like forced feeding, all the more painful because of flying high on an inappropriate dose of Dexamethasone, “the little blue pill,” mentioned in my early blogs.

Then, days, weeks, months passed, with ninety-day visits from the nurse practioner to evaluate my decline that warranted the continuation of hospice. Last spring’s additional helpers for personal care firmed my case.

Blogging this process has left a trail of new learning: books reviewed, seasonal changes outside my study window, significant dreams, vignettes of helpers, emerging sense of my mortality, prayers, together with my recovery work in Chronic Pain Anonymous.

The fact remains—I’ve not died! And there appears little clinical evidence that this will happen soon. 

So I’ve re-framed my sense of dying to that of living in the body of an old woman, a time of low drama with languorous phases of soul-looking at the significant. Such surrender will inform my blogs with content larger in scope than what I’ve produced. That’s my hope.

Thanks for your continuing interest.