I really agonized over how to title this post and decided that this is the right way. We have brought Lynn home and have brought out hospice. This event may appear to be the antithesis of hope. But only from a limited perspective.
This decision was difficult but finally became easier when we understood that the decision to begin hospice is revocable. One compassionate doctor was very articulate, describing it as an insurance status formality that enables us to qualify for certain expanded benefits. The aim is now the comfort of Lynn and everyone involved in her care. Meanwhile on hospice, curative treatment is ceased. Lynn is not strong enough to tolerate the difficult chemo treatments that, based upon our experience so far, would only have slim chances of prolonging her life. However, if she thrives on hospice care and bounces back, we can switch her out of hospice status and resume normal treatment. I've never thought much about hospice, and this is something that I had not understood. Hospice treatment is less about death and more about an emphasis on comfort rather than cure.
Lynn's hospital stay had achieved its purpose to stabilize her even if it was not as much as we would hope. Her one most constant thought was an urgent desire to return home. At times, she would not remember where she was, why she was there, why should couldn't walk or even the fact that she couldn't walk. But she always remembered that she was not where she wanted to be. Now she is, and she is so much more comfortable and happy. We are seeing bright glimpses of her whit and humor!
I feel like I owe it to all who love her who read this to be very clear. We do not expect Lynn to recover. While we can and do hold out hope for some kind of dramatic turn-around, it would be nothing short of a miracle at this point. The more likely miracles will be to find joy in Lynn's memory and to let her influence define us for good. I think of my kids most when I write this.
Lynn is not in pain at all. Right now, she is enjoying some Jeni's ice cream. Seeing her enjoy one of the little comforts is one miracle enough. The next miracle, and the one on which our hope ultimately rests, is that Lynn will peacefully pass and that her spirit will soar to its rest. We can hope that what most defines us does not end at death and that there will one day be a reunion with those who have preceded us.