In 2002 we ran away from Illinois where we were born and raised, and started a new life in SW Florida. This blog is about me (an eccentric old artist), ROM (my Real Old Man), Isabella (our neurotic Standard Poodle) and Emmy (our crazy snake killing Jack Russell Terrier). Oh- and the neighborhood old people. Life is good in Florida!


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Putting My Hand Into Tidewell's...

Sunday we had a visit from Tidewell Hospice representative to officially sign up for their services. I placed my life under their care and trust they will guide and assist me on this final adventure. It's a big step to take for someone like me who has always valued their independence. I like being in charge of me. And I have been very good at it until now. I'm now out of my depth and need their experience and skills to guide me to my goal- a peaceful, comfortable and dignified death. I want Mike to be left with memories of me relaxed and as pain-free as possible. 

I want to take a minute to clarify something. I love and value life. I would never urge anyone to give up and accept death if there is reasonable hope of remission and recovery. Even if there is little hope, but you want to keep fighting, it's your right to do so.  No one knows you and what you need more than you do yourself. 

If someone had asked me a month ago if I knew about hospice care I would have said of course I do. And I did- superficially. I'm now discovering I knew very little. But I'm learning...

Now let me tell you about my hospice team... 

Each team includes a doctor (I haven't met mine yet), a nurse and a social worker. I had the first visit with my nurse Sunday. When she walked in I got a surfer girl vibe- long wavy blonde hair, with smiling eyes and warm personality. I instantly liked her. Her name is Tricia. (Side note- I'm striving to be as open and honest as I can be as I share my story with you. But I will also protect the privacy of my team- so no full names or photos.)

As my nurse, Tricia will be my go-to person for everything. She coordinates all my care, even my medications. Medications are delivered right to my door. Mike will no longer have to waste precious time waiting around Walgreens or keep track of what and when I need it. Hospice does that. We were talking about something earlier and Mike asked what we needed to do about it. I said "We don't need to do anything- hospice is doing it!" and then we burst out in relieved laughter. If you have gone through something like this, you know exactly what I mean. 

Monday I met my social worker. Now get this... her name is Ro. Many of you know me from Twitter where I go by the name ROH. Ro and I had to be- it was written in the stars. She's another one with a great smile. Infectious smiles must be part of Tidewell's hiring requirements. We discussed my mood and feelings, ways to handle stress and anxiety, sleep and such.  

Now I guess we settle in and try to establish a new routine. I'm not sure what that will be, and I'm sure it will change as my condition deteriorates. Right now we're free-flowing... sleep when we can, eat when and what we want. Mike has taken over the day to day running of the house. Laundry, cleaning, shopping, dog care, plant and yard chores. The only thing that is carefully scheduled is medication. In addition to the steroids and pain meds hospice supplies, I'm also continuing some of my heart and lung meds prescribed by my cardiologist and pulmonary doctor.  I got the okay to stop some of them but have been advised I could benefit from 3 of them. I don't want to spend 4 months immobilized by a stroke as I wait to die of cancer. 

Okay, I'm on empty now. Time to retreat to my nest... cya in the 'morrow... 


  1. So happy you & Mike have this help. It's too much to wade through this passage without it. I don't know where they find these angels but what a gift.

    1. They are no ordinary people, that's for sure. I am in awe of them. This past week I've been with hospice has been so much different than the previous weeks of confusion, terror, and chaos.

  2. Thank you for sharing the process with us. I admire your spunk and willingness to accept your decisions. You are so brave.

    1. Thanks, Diane. I don't know about brave but I'm sure filled with graditude for hospice.

  3. The beauty of Hospice is that while they provide guidance and support, the decision to comply or not is still always yours and when you can't, it's Mike's so your independence is still intact.

    Another team member to consider meeting is their Chaplain. Chaplains in Hospice are pleasant surprises, they let you set the tone for how they support you. Our Chaplain would sit and swap golf stories with my husband and had an uncanny knack for sensing if either of us had something on our minds. He would gently tease is out, listen and help us sort out our feelings etc. Their goal is to make sure you don't have unfinished business which is part of having a good death. Many Hospices also offer art, music and pet therapy along with massage therapy. Check with your Nurse as she's the one who will get it set up.

    Hospice also has a wealth of pamphlets on what to expect at each stage of the active dying process. Mike especially will benefit from reading because knowledge removes the fear and trauma. When done right, dying is as beautiful as birth and I pray that is the experience you both have.

  4. While my heart is broken, you are giving me such a gift of your words and feelings that I will carry with me forever. I admire your wisdom, wit, artistic talent, and our common love of pets. We met through our disgust of weave-ripping, table-flipping NJ Housewives. Keep reliving those memories and showing off your talent. Gentle hugs.

    1. Thanks for caring enough to read my ramblings. We've come a long way from the Real Housewives drama, haven't we? LOL


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