On March 5th of this year my Oma first fell, hitting a wall and injuring her tailbone. At first she declined care, or medical evaluation. The woman is tough as nails as they say. As she began to decline, my family and I worked together to aid her to hopefully regain her strength, For a few weeks, she healed at home with additional services integrated via the Local Health Integration Network. They were amazing. She was not getting better, and instead continued to quickly decline.
After two weeks, I made the decision, that she required medical attention beyond what she was receiving at home. It's turned out to be but one of the many difficult decisions I have needed to make throughout her ongoing care since. Since her initial fall she has remained ill and on March 24th we were informed that her condition was terminal. She has remained fully alert and aware through all that has happened since she was hospitalized and stabilized. As feisty as I have always known her to be. This has brought me many smiles.
My Oma raised me in large part. We've spent the last 24 years together more often than apart. We shared a bed for many years in my youth, in her 1 bedroom apartment. We've shared "joint custody" with my wiener dog, Beanie, when my hours at work left her home too long alone. We developed our own little ways, together, through our lives, first with her caring for me, with it then her sharing the same bond with my daughter, then us caring for her, as age took its toll. I could not be more grateful for every moment I have spent with her. Most memories I have somehow include or stem from her. By "Meredith Grey terms", she is my person and I am hers.
Through out the last month I have become more familiar with the processes related to acquiring long term care within our area. I have checked out assisted living spaces at nursing and senior homes close to my home, hoping to bring her closer to me so as to better aid in her care. I have begun to understand the privilege of Hospice, and difficulties with acquiring such amazing care services. I have come to see their beauty and the need to ensure that such services are available to all, not just those who have family and friends to aid in advocating and managing the red tape of our current systems. What about those that are impoverished? Those that lack in life, then continue to lack in death. Neither should be acceptable.
So we reach today's topic in full. I guarantee I will have so much more to say on these issues. But for now I will turn back my attention back to my family and school work. But the time will come. Soon.
For now a few thoughts to start things out.
We need to discuss how and why there are not more available spaces, and how we as a community can come together and aid to create and better support them. Locally, our hospice system is mainly volunteer based and donation funded. Their smaller settings allow for families comfort and a homier surrounding than a hospital. I'll engage more on that later, but they can always use your help. To demand funding from our provincial governance to better assure that the number of local available units can manage the flows that are needed to accommodate our community. We need to discuss how we can best support the loving staff and volunteers, those that we entrust to care for our treasured family members at every step of their journey.
None of us get out of here alive. My Oma used to tell me that. Still does. For now.
When our journey comes to an end, mine and yours, will we be able to find a place of peace, a place that holds our dignity and comfort to be of utmost priority, and has the available staff time to do so?
Or will there be no available beds?