Hospice

Hospice 4

Hospice 4

More than half a century ago, when I first read George Eliot’s novel Middlemarch, I came upon a passage which I committed immediately to memory. It runs: That element of tragedy that lies in the very fact of its frequency has not yet wrought itself into the coarser fabric of mankind.For had we a keen(…)

Hospice 3

Hospice 3

Today for the first time, sitting across the table from W., I felt an upsurge of emotion it took me some effort to master, and i thought to myself that perhaps I needed to consider just what this work will cost me. W. attends to her dying husband. No children, no relatives, no visitors, no(…)

Hospice 2

Hospice 2

I sat for about 20 minutes with A. while she “slept.” I put that word in quotation marks to signify the sense I have that we do not have good words to describe the various states of (apparent) unconsciousness in which a patient may be dwelling. (The eskimos with their 10 words for snow.) My(…)

Hospice 1

Hospice 1

Finally I begin. I walk onto the unit and into the voluble wisdom of Dr. N, my personal physician and the MD for the organization which trains and administers hospice volunteers. We sit with D. “the least of these,” who cleans and mops the floors and rooms and who, Dr N. says, is one of(…)

Honey is My First Hospice Patient

Honey is My First Hospice Patient

Honey my dog is aging fast. Though she has spurts of youthful frisk down at the water’s edge and can still charge a squirrel in the backyard with a bark and lunge, her game left leg is weaker and just last week she seemed to have a kind of mini seizure where she stumbled blindly(…)