It was a sunny afternoon during a drive to visit my best friend’s brand-new baby when our family’s path to hospice officially began. It was a phone call from my little sister. My father, Paul, had been battling severe pain for over three months, and on that July 23rd we learned that he had lymphoma. On June 19th of the following year, just two weeks after his 60th birthday, Hospice of Central PA would become a part of my dad’s end-of-life journey.
For ten days, his nurse made multiple visits to my parent’s home to be sure that my dad was comfortable and had everything he needed. On the 11th day, he was able to accept a place at Carolyn’s House for 24-hour care, as well as to escape the bustle of a home filled at all times with a few (if not all) of his seven children.
The staff at Carolyn’s House deftly handled my dad’s stubborn refusal to stay in bed (even though his legs ceased to cooperate) and his constant thirst for Gatorade. They provided space and crayons for his four-year-old only grandson, and tea and cookies and conversation for his wife and children. On his 15th day at Carolyn’s House, my dad was able to get a massage from a specialized therapist. Our family feels that this helped to ease his transition from this life the very next day.
For most of us, hospice isn’t something we think about often, but for many of us it is a reality that we will eventually face. Not only did my father benefit from the caregivers at Carolyn’s House, but we all experienced the lasting impact of the caring team of people at Hospice of Central PA.