Posted in #atozchallenge, Blogfest Entries, Blogging from A toZ April Challenge, Blogging from A-Z April 2018, Life Writing, My Poetry, poetry, slices of life

H is for Hospice, Not Hospital: #atozchallenge Day8

Room for Marriage

I walk down sterile echoing halls

I come a stranger into numbered room

Room where my husband lies trapped

Room where our intimacies are denied

Denied the freedom to live as he will

Denied right to eat sleep be as he needs

Needs to be more than a name on a chart

Needs to be far more than just a disease

Disease has no feelings no will no voice

Disease has overrun so much of his life

Life the hospital is frittering away

Life too soon to be ended to remain

Remain in this place of sterile echoes

Remain here where joy has no home

Home is waiting with all he holds dear

Home where wife and children are near

Near to his living and the coming of death

Near things he loves and familiar places

Places arranged for his comfort alone

Places not sterile but comfy and warm

Warm love surrounds him with tender care

Warm volunteers who come only to tend

Tend to his concerns listen to what he says

Give information and provide soothing support

Support for the whole of the man he is

Support as he navigates this final journey

Journey made not only by him

Journey made by us all together

Together sustained by hospice caregivers

Together with respect for all he wants

Wants an easing of pain and attempts to cure

Wants family laughter and comfort measures

Measures the life lived in his days

Measures only what’s needed to bring him peace

Peace absent back in those sterile echoing halls

Peace of the sustenance of familiarity’s embrace

Embrace of his daughter and his son

Embraces and tears with a loving wife

Wife to tend in ways no hospital nurse can

Wife to love him in health and in sickness

Sickness that will steal him away far too soon

Sickness doesn’t become the sum of his days

Days that pass with television and conversation

Days where sleep and waking just flow

Flow into a three AM living room picnic

Flow through the last days of a marriage

Marriage of medical support and home

Marriage allowed to be real until his death




A few years ago, our dentist died of cancer. His wife was his hygienist, and she told Jim that he’d died fairly suddenly, and had spent the last three weeks of his life in the hospital.

That bothered Jim greatly. He stated again and again that he wanted to die at home. Though it was daunting to consider, I supported him in that wish. However, his cancer was diagnosed as a result of treatment for a swollen and painful leg that was diagnosed as deep vein thrombosis.

He spent several days in the hospital receiving life-saving treatment for that condition – and another ten when he had a minor heart attack as a result of his first (and only) chemotherapy session.

Those stays made it clear – he languished in the hospital – unable to sleep with the light and noise, unable to relax due to round the clock medical procedures despite the fact that his condition was terminal from the time he was diagnosed.

When he came home from that second stay, he was determined to stay at home – and to die here, in the spot where I am currently sitting, on the bed he made for us both.

Because of hospice, this was possible, while assuring that Jim had the care he needed to be comfortable, and offering something the hospital didn’t – care and support for me, as well. Our hospice nurse, Caroline, was fantastic at handling requests and adapting as Jim grew sicker. His chaplain, Mike, was caring and kind.

They made a difficult transition far more navigable, and made it possible for Jim to do just what he most wanted – to die at home, surrounded by love.

Join us again tomorrow, when we’ll explore the Intensification of Incapicitation.

And find more H happenings here!