Inpatient Hospice

Dad is now in inpatient hospice. We moved just down the hall from his rehab room at the nursing home. Hospice has a small wing here, so the move was only minimally stressful.

Yesterday, before the hospice room was ready, Dad had lots of visitors. My favorite visitor was Freddie, my niece’s 7-month miniature long-hair Dachshund. Freddie got in bed with Dad, and Dad and he cuddled. Dad loves animals more than any man I’ve ever known. He passed that love on to me.

When we got the news that inpatient hospice had accepted Dad, my sister cried for the first time. Death is imminent. Her husband comforted her, and in that moment I remembered the man I knew before my niece told me what he’d done to her. I understand the conflicting feelings everyone has about him. I didn’t want to, but it was there. Things were easier when all I saw was the man who’d hurt his daughter, my niece. But this is not about him. This is about my father.

I walked next to him in his bed as the orderly wheeled him down the hall from rehab to hospice, and I felt that the nurses I passed knew I was walking toward the end. “Dead man rolling,” I thought. And then, “What a horrible thought to have.” I held back the tears until we got situated in the room and the orderly left. My mom came shortly thereafter with most of his things. I went down the hall and picked up the rest. The man who was sharing the room with us has a wonderful private nurse that we’ve gotten to know over the past few days. She was instrumental in giving my mom the straight scoop on the feeding tube. Because she’s a private nurse, she could speak frankly. I was so grateful she did not equivocate, like everyone else is required to do. As I left with the last of my father’s things, she said, “Good luck.” It struck me as an odd thing to say when you’re on your way to be with your loved one while he leaves this earth. But what is right in these situations? There are no rules.

I stayed with my father last night while my mom went home to get some rest. Being the youngest, I’ve always loved those moments with my father when it was just the two of us. Last night was no different. I held his hand and told him about my kitties’ new mouse toy, How Sadie gets upset when I stop playing mouse. How she carries mouse in her mouth, upstairs into bed. I told him of the mocking birds outside the window in trees, of the wind blowing through the leaves, the storm clouds rolling in. As we talked, I held his hand and stroked his face. The nurses are taking very good care of him, making him comfortable with morphine and Ativan. I’m learning how to read his signals, when he’s in pain, when he’s anxious. And then the nurse comes in and gives him what he needs. Hospice is a godsend.

Visitors are beginning to arrive. My niece is bringing her puppy again.


  • I have walked in your shoes almost step by step . Thank God almighty for Hospice, they are a wonderful place of care & peace. I am so grateful that you and your family have a loving place for Dad as he prepares for the next journey of his life. I have never met you, don’t even know your name, but I can say this from woman to woman, daughter to daughter, embrace all the goodness from him and you will be able to navigate these difficult times. I pray for you each day and send you much strength from my hand to yours.


  • yes contradictions of thoughts…all correct, sometimes not pretty but life/death have so many different aspects. so glad that you are having this time with your Dad and that others are coming to see him and share. this is the time for telling each other stories and holding hands and just being with him and your self…good luck…for you have an opportunity that many do not have.
    Om Santi, Santi, Santi,


  • “Mairzy doats and dozy doats
    And liddle lamzy divey
    A kiddley divey too, wouldn’t you?”

    Funny how life goes.

    I admired your dad. We just plain hit it off, like it or not. He always made me smile, and he was always willing to talk. Boy did he like to talk.

    According to stories he told me, he ran money for the mob off the coast of South America in the Merchant Marines during the tail end of WWII. He helped develop the cathode ray tube for the color version of TVs, and sold the rights of same too cheaply while all too young—his biggest regret.

    He also built a satellite business surrounding the oil industry in Houston, and his voice sounded professionally stentorian like Col. Blake. (The one from the original MASH movie, the Col. Blake portrayed by Roger Bowen.)

    It sounded like this:

    “Mairzy doats and dozy doats
    And liddle lamzy divey
    A kiddley divey too, wouldn’t you?”

    At least it sounded like that in a cabin in Ontario, Canada off the banks of Lake Superior. Near SOOOOooooooo St. Marie.

    What else?

    The love of his life was a fat fractious cat named Spot and a patiently devoted wife named Donna. I’m inclined to call it a draw. He loved them both in different ways.

    Yeah, Cameron had his flaws. Don’t we all. But he was better than most. He was definitely better than me and most people I know. And most people I’ve known in his family. Or mine.

    Look, I’ve been right where you are chipmunk, right there waiting for the next shoe to fall. My insight? The next shoe will eventually fall, but it’ll sound like a boot.

    Buckle the boot and move on. As best you can. Do what you have to do to survive. Singing helps.

    “Mairzy doats and dozy doats
    And liddle lamzy divey
    A kiddley divey too, wouldn’t you?”

    I swear, I’ll let you sing all you want from now on.


    • I’ve thought of that moment so many times over the past few days and have been struggling to remember all the words. You told me to remember that moment, it would be important later. Thank you for reminding me how it went.

      Yes, my Dad is a better man than most. I know this to be truth. I am proud to call him my father. I am lucky to have been his little puddle duck.

      Right now, as I lay here near him, watching over him as the sun begins to rise, I imagine the other shoe to be a slipper.


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