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CancerLynx - we prowl the net
May 19, 2001

Planning for the End
Doreen Jaskela

Sammy and I had an appointment with the social worker at Cottonwoods, a geriatric home with a hospice wing, fairly close to where I live. We were very impressed, as it was nice and bright and had about 8 private rooms and two 3-bed wards. You can bring in a TV and a favourite chair if you so wish, and all the rooms look out onto a very bright courtyard. My desire is to go there for my last couple of weeks, as I do not wish to die at home and spoil the home memories for my husband. Our condo is a good set up - top floor and corner unit with two nice skylights, very bright and comfortable.

I am hoping hospice is still a few months down the road, and that I will plateau for a while after a bad downhill scramble. The methadone is certainly a much better drug for me, and masks the pain fairly well, although they are having to up the dosage again.

I have a terrible nightmare of being put on the palliative care ward at the hospital. There are some horror stories I've heard from friends -- people who have been in a ward where they are not badly off, but other people are screaming.

Of course, hospice facilities vary from state to state and province to province. I only hope they are available when and where people really need them. With mets, one has to believe the end is coming. It is an unknown place and we have to feel our way along the path.

I have been so lucky with my doctors and nurses - they have all gone far above and beyond, and I communicate so well with all of them except my oncologist, and even she seems to do the right thing for me, even if she is distant and can hardly talk to me. Perhaps she feels she cannot get involved with her patients - but perhaps she and I are just not personally compatible.

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