24 June 2011


I got a call from Raymond at the hospice office yesterday.  Unfortunately, he called my home number and not my cell or my work (both of which he has).  He left a message and said that it was not an emergency, but to please call him back.

I called the hospice office as soon as I got home.  Raymond had left for the day, but the gal on the phone explained what was going on ~ at least, somewhat.

It seems that when a patient is enrolled in hospice care, one of the first things the program does is order liquid morphine to be delivered to the patient's house.  This is to ensure that unmanageable pain is treated whether or not the patient can be seen right away.  Well, that's good.  Why the hell should she suffer as she is dying, right?

But, the question the woman couldn't answer was, why did Raymond call me?  Were the parents out of the house?  She didn't know.  She just wanted to be sure that we knew that the pharmacy would be delivering the morphine that afternoon.

I called my parents and let them know.  It seems that Raymond had called and my mom had basically told him to bugger off.  She didn't know who he was and she didn't have time for him.  She told him that she wasn't interested and hung up on him.  He called back and she told him to stop bothering her.  I guess she thought he was trying to sell her something.  Sigh.

At any rate, it got sorted out and there is now a bottle of liquid morphine on the mantel.  The nurse has called and given instructions as to its use.

Here's something else, though.  When I was talking to the woman on the phone, her tone of voice and phrasing were creeping me out.  She is clearly used to talking to people who are in distress, but I was expecting more of a matter-of-fact tone and not the unctuous sympathy and hushed voice that I got from her.  It was a little weird.


Anonymous said...

It absolutely must have felt weird. Everything must feel weird and foreign right now. I'm wishing you a calm weekend.

eb said...

I remember getting a call one time from the dr.'s office to tell me about some abnormality on a test. Before I could even say anything she said very clearly yet somewhat strangely, 'It. Is . Not. Cancer.' But I was irritated because it was as if she was talking to me as a grown up to a child. But, I figured she's got to have people freaking out on her all the time and this is how she deals with it.

Don't forget to take care of yourself.

weese said...

ah. the morphine has arrived.
yes i remember this. mom scoffed.
it sat on the counter for a couple weeks.
it became our good friend.
she used to like to have some canned peaches after...it doesn't taste very good apparently.
our little joke (me and my wife) while we were dosing it out was...don't lick your fingers.
the measurments can be tricky - especially when they start quickly upping the doses.

do you have my email?
drop a line if you want... chat, questions, or just to rant.

i wouldn't be surprised if the hospice folks will want to talk to you primarily.

Maria said...

My neighbor had hospice workers when she was dying and there was one guy who was sort of like that and he creeped me out too. He was a hand patter and a hushy whisperer. Icky.

And then there was this wonderful woman who didn't say much but listened when needed and commented when needed too. I loved her and she made my friend's passing so much easier. I think it takes a special person to do that job.