Thursday, July 3, 2008

Not Dying Up to Expectations

Mrs. X has been admitted into the inpatient unit for "actively dying". She seems so close to death, but continues to surprise us with unexpected spurts of lucidity and well... life. One evening, the staff nearly pronounces her dead and the woman essentially snaps right out of it. The next morning, Mrs. X is sitting up in bed enjoying her breakfast.

This woman is the reason why I do not give families a firm prediction on life expectancy for their loved ones. I will give an estimate... but with plenty of disclaimers. Thankfully, the families/caregivers are overwhelmingly accepting of my vagueness.

Eventually, the hospice decides to send Mrs. X back home into the care of her children. The family is contacted in order to make arrangements and schedule her transportation. This plan comes to a screeching halt... The kids have rented out her room. The new tenant has not only already moved in, but is sleeping in the hospital bed that hospice had provided for her.

This is why hospices keep their social workers on speed dial.

1 comment:

chupacabra said...

Surprise, NO shock registered here.