“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there!” -Rumi

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I am calling hospice today to see if I qualify for their services. Living in the wilderness, there are few services available in our area. Even the home health organization cannot provide outreach for our area anymore. Although I am self-sufficient, occasionally there are issues that are beyond me medically. For example, a few weeks ago my heart rate went to 152 while I was standing, so I was exerting. I didn’t know who to consult.

Making the decision to call hospice came from me. Nobody referred me to them, not the home health organization that regretfully discharge me, not the doctor who agreed to be my primary care doctor, not my caregivers or friends, some of whom are nurses. I don’t think anybody wanted to connect me with THAT organization. So it really wasn’t a matter of neglect or oversight, but perhaps it was more a matter of denial, denial and grief.

We called and although I don’t qualify for their short-term program (hooray), I qualify for their long-term palliative care program. Palliative care is defined as multidisciplinary approach to providing medical care for those with serious illnesses, to relieve pain, symptoms and stress. The administrative person explained the program and said with a doctor’s order, I could sign the paperwork. I explained that I cannot use my hands and she suggested a power of attorney. A power of attorney to me suggests deferring power to another. Doesn’t she realize that is what I have done my whole life?! I refuse to do it now. My suggestion was duct tape, but she didn’t seem to appreciate that.

There is a part of me (by the way, who is in charge much of the time) that really does not take this seriously. When you have a life-threatening illness for as long as I have and have moved through the state of acceptance to a state of transcendence, it is hard to take these circumstances too seriously; I would be way too serious, way too often. I had to give that up.

I feel like someone who is about to go on a beautiful journey and is excited about the adventure. Thinking about my place of departure is not really the point, when you are going on a “pilgrimage.” There is much I will appreciate to not have to deal with, like my in floor radiant heat, the physical discomfort I deal with on a daily basis and the enormous energy it takes to stay proactive, just to stay alive. When I think of my greatest grief, it is in leaving my children and grandchildren. As I open more to the belief that I will not truly be leaving them, what’s the point? It’s not like I can go skiing, swimming or riding anymore. After all, once we all make our transitions, we will be together again.

So I have the dubious distinction of being a member of a group of which I didn’t really want membership, but I am a member of a broader group, a group formed and expressed through LOVE, and I embrace that membership.

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