My husband and I had a magical marriage. He was my king and he treated me like a princess. We adored one another. He went for just a regular colonoscopy in Frankfort. When the physician clipped the malignant polyp, my husband hemorrhaged. Another physician had to take him to emergency surgery to save his life. However, the cancer was now in my husband’s bloodstream. My husband died of colon cancer less than a year later at the age of 54 in 1999. He had been a patient for many months at the Saint Joseph Hospice Care Center. I had been an active hospice volunteer for years prior and was aware of many of their services. The Hospice of the Bluegrass representative came to the hospital and discussed options with us, and by the time my husband got home, the bed had been set up next to a sunny window overlooking the golf course and bird feeders. We had tray tables, potties and everything we might need – things we
didn’t even know we needed. Members of the hospice team would visit regularly. And life was pretty normal for several months and quite enjoyable. We had lots of family and friends in to visit, and his golf buddies would stop by if he was out on the porch and chat. Later, we had baby monitors in every room so that I could hear him if he was up and rambling around when I was in another room. Being in the comfort of our own home, seeing the people he wanted to see and spending our quiet times together at night and early mornings are some of my best memories. The last week, he got so sick with a fever and constantly vomiting. I even fainted several times because I wasn’t taking care of myself. We decided that if there was a bed available at the Saint Joseph Hospice Care Center that we would take him there, and the next Monday morning we did. What a blessing! Saint Joseph allowed me, his daughters, brothers and friends
every courtesy. The room was dimly lit, quiet and cozy, and always had soft music playing. I never left until the end. The nurses even let me use their showers. My husband died that Friday morning at 9:35 with all of us at his bedside, and with the song playing on the radio “In the Arms of the Angels” by Sara McLachlan. I remember it like it was yesterday. Thank goodness for Hospice of the Bluegrass, now Bluegrass Care Navigators, and the Hospice Care Center. I took a year off of volunteering back then (20 years ago), but am still an active volunteer in Frankfort today. The hospice staff is outstanding and the training they provide to volunteers is ongoing. Please, if you even think you or your family might need hospice care, call early, they will make your life easier in so many ways. And if you are interested in volunteering, you will receive more than you give.
— D. Stivers
I have been a hospice team member for 15 years. One of my responsibilities is to educate the community about hospice services, and death and dying.
I thought I knew all there was to know until I experienced it firsthand. My daddy became a hospice patient in 2017 after a diagnosis of liver cancer
and COPD, and became very sick quickly. I was his primary caregiver and couldn't have done it without our hospice team. First, I will tell you that my daddy was a character – funny and witty. He thought the world of his nurse, Diane Scott, who took such good care of him. Diane always seemed to have all the
time in the world for daddy and us. As a team member, I know how busy the clinicians are and how rushed for time they can be. Diane never showed that one time. Daddy was a straightforward kind of man so naturally he enjoyed the company of Dr. Bell. She would be very frank with him and he liked that – no sugar coating for him. Daddy also loved his nursing aide, Brent Waldridge, and looked forward to his visits every week. They would talk about life and watch UK games together. The week he started getting worse, Emily Fint came by because Diane was on vacation. She slowly explained to all of us that his disease was progressing and it would be a good idea to get out while he could and do the things he loved. That week we took him to play poker with his friends, rode around the countryside and ate at his favorite restaurant, Applebee’s. That following Wednesday, he took a turn for the worse and we took him to the Hospice Care Center. Daddy was having a really hard time breathing and we knew he needed more assistance than what we could provide in the home setting. Within an hour of arriving at the center, he was comfortable again and sipping on some Pepsi. Daddy passed away on that following Sunday at the care center. My siblings and I knew it would have been very difficult for us to have stayed in the home for three or four more days caring for daddy. The best decision we made was going to the care center. Diane would have worn herself out trying to be there every minute that she possibly could. You may be thinking my family and Daddy were treated “special” because of my employment with BCN. No, I have worked with Diane Scott for 15 years, and I have watched her give everything she has to all of her patients and families. Although a very sad and emotional journey, hospice made the experience a lot less stressful. I am so very thankful for each and every team member that had a part in Daddy’s care.
— S. Brown
Hospice matters to me because I am able to provide the care our patients deserve. I am able to educate and support our patient's and families' on there own unique journey through end of life.
- K. Mobley
My mother-in-law was cared for by a band of angels who made her and our family as comfortable as one can be when someone they love is preparing to pass from this world. The love, compassion and kindness shown to our family has touched each of us, and to see the gentle and respectful manner in which the hospice staff treated Bonnie was something I will never forget. There are angels among us and they appear when they are most needed. You’ll find them at Hospice.
- C. Hammonds