We’re Going on a Hospice Supported Vacation

Original painting of a sunrise over the water I hope we'll see on our hospice supported vacationWe’re doing well just the two of us, so we are going on a hospice supported vacation tomorrow!  Just three hours drive away but we’ll be leaving the toxic red tide behind.  I am excited, overwhelmed, and worried.  What made the decision to go was that our hospice here has arranged a travel contract with the hospice there!

Excited because we haven’t traveled for a year, not even one night in another location, and we love to go new places.  We aren’t planning on sight seeing but we’ll have a suite with a view.  New sights, new smells, new sounds (hopefully ocean waves).  Sunrises over the water instead of sunsets.  No chores – just each other!!!

Overwhelmed because there is so much to preparing – equipment, and paraphernalia of Larry’s life (special cups, spoon, straws, lap tray, dining scarves, etc.).  Thankfully the hospice over there will supply the oxygen – that’s the heaviest, biggest thing.   Then there are medications, and of course, clothes, sunglasses, hats, books, etc.  And dog food, poop bags.

We’re bringing all our food, too, so I don’t have to shop or cook when we get there.  Luckily we have many frozen leftovers from all the wonderful meals neighbors have made for us.  We have two coolers waiting to be packed tomorrow morning.

I’ve been getting the house ready – paying bills, taking care of plants, pool, trash, and arranging for neighbors to pick up mail.  I’ve had a lot of lists this week.

I’m worried because after a couple weeks of breathing clearly, Larry’s lungs are congested again and his breathing is gurgly and getting worse.   Is it the air born toxins from the red tide?  Or my contagious stressed energy getting ready?  Or the disease progression?

Travel has thrown his system off even in the last three years when he was in better shape.  The drive is short but I hope the changes don’t impact him negatively.  Maybe the clearer air will actually make him breathe easier!  Let’s hope!

I’m thrown by the sound of his breathing, though, because it brings me back to our crisis weeks and reminds me of the presence of death sitting out there on the horizon.  It’s so easy to forget, or at least ignore, when his symptoms are quiet.  And it all comes roaring back, almost as a painful adrenaline shock, when the symptoms act up.  I’m trying to meditate more, drink less, and breathe deeply.

I’m still glad we are going, with all that said.  It’s about continuing to pursue the best quality of life possible given the constraints.

Because this is a hospice supported vacation,  I’ve already had two conversations with their clinical director.  She said they want to support us having a good time – providing help when we need it and staying away so we can enjoy our vacation when we don’t need help.  Awesome! We’ll have a nurse visit as soon as we arrive, and have scheduled two CNA visits for his showers and shaves.  And they will be available 24/7 in the event of any problems.  With all our equipment and meds, there’s nothing I could do here that I couldn’t do there anyway.

Here’s to having a good hospice supported vacation!  Wish us well.

 

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