My spouse and I are probably unusual in that we have told our girls exactly how we want our end of life care to look, where we want our memorial stone to be, and that we want to be cremated. We have told my sibling and my parents as well. My in-laws laughed and then hid when we tried to start that conversation. If I could have one wish, it would be that everyone considered their death and told their loved ones what treatments they want and don't want. We should all get that good death, surrounded by loved ones, with no more pain. May we all be so fortunate.
Sunday, June 12, 2016
My favorite part of my job is hospice. This puts me in a tiny minority of pharmacists and healthcare providers. Almost all of healthcare is busily striving to extend life at any cost. Hospice is focused on letting people die with dignity and comfort. My hospice patients are one of two sorts: admitted with months and months left to live or only hours, maybe a day at most. I wish it were always the former sort of patient so families could have the time for healing and the patient wouldn't get more futile treatments. Friday we admitted the latter sort of patient and Sunday the patient needed more pain medicine because the patient surprised us all by surviving that long. The whole family was there with the patient when I walked in, drinking coffee and eating the cookies I've seen at every death vigil in a facility, yet nobody seemed to be tasting any of it. There's something transcendent about a good death where the family gathers to support the dying person one last time, then is together to lean on each other for support after the death.