Yesterday I received a phone call from our hospice social worker. She had just been to see Jerry and wanted to assure me that he was being well taken care of. She arrived after lunch and wondered why the lights had been turned down. On most days, after lunch, the residents are wheeled into the activity room for rest time. The TV and lights are turned down low and most of them nod off while sitting in the circle, one next to the other. She told me Jerry was taking full advantage of it and was sleeping peacefully.
The first time I saw Jerry like that it really upset me. Seeing a once vibrant man sleeping upright in a chair, surrounded by other sleeping people just looked so pitiful. (Course, I don’t know why that would be any different from the good old days when he slept on the sofa “studying” the TV.) I’ve gotten use to it though, and actually get a peaceful easy feeling when I see it now. Sort of like seeing a sleeping baby.
I asked the social worker about his weight. She hadn’t checked his weight this visit, but recalled from the nurse, that it was still going down. I think, at last weigh-in, he was around 140lbs. Pretty thin for a man of 6’4”. Jeddy, his aide, had told me that he was eating well but that it was just passing right through him. The social worker told me that this was called “failure to thrive”. It’s when, no matter how much the patient eats, the body does not process any nutriments anymore. They just continue to lose weight.
There is a misconception that hospice services are only for that last six month of life. Actually, there have been patients under hospice care for years. What keeps Jerry qualifying for services is his “failure to thrive.” His condition continues to deteriorate, which makes hospice available for the long term. I have been so pleased with the hospice workers. Unfortunately, I have not met them all, but I have met the social worker, nurse, nurse’s aide and chaplain. They visit every two weeks. It’s good to have an extra set of eyes on Jerry’s care. Each time they visit, I get a call and an update.
Just wanted to give you hospice update. I’m going to see Jerry tomorrow. For sure, we’ll visit the FroYo place for a cup of frozen yogurt and not worry one bit about the calories.