May 25, 2004
Barwick - Eighty-six-year old Lucille Norman is dying, and she knows it. "I told 'em last night that I was getting weaker," she says.
Weaker from a heart attack she suffered in December. One her doctor said she would never recover from. "He just said he'd done all he could," says Ms. Norman. "There wasn't nothing else he could do."
But she didn't want to spend the rest of her time on earth in a hospital room. She says, "I told them I was ready to come home after I found out that I had the heart attack, that I'd assume be home than anywhere else."
At home she can see her family and friends anytime she wants. When she has the strength, she can participate in her favorite pastime, quilting. All of this is possible through the care of her daughter and hospice workers.
Daughter Mary Jane Walker says, "It's hard, but I'm coming to grips with it, because I know she won't be in any pain. She will not be suffering. As long as she's not in pain or suffering, I can accept it."
That pain is eased with the help of Rossie Tullis, who has become more than just a nurse, she's now a friend. "She's still enjoying her life and that's what we're all about," says Tullis. "That's the whole goal of hospice is for them to enjoy every minute they have."
And to be comfortable in those minutes, however few there may be. "Couldn't be more comfortable, I don't think" says Ms. Norman.
And although losing her will be difficult. "It's hard to accept the fact that she's going away," says daughter Ruth White.
Knowing she's not in pain, eases theirs. "Well, I've accepted it," she says. Accepted the fact that she's dying while living life to the fullest.
Hospice patients must be referred by a doctor, but if you or a loved one are interested in hospice, you should contact your physician.
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