Wow, it’s so hard to believe that Dad has been gone almost a week already. This week has moved along at a pretty usual pace compared to last week when every day felt like a week in itself. Amazing how your perspectives on time change in a crisis. Just a week ago my head was filled with the agony of facing death with someone I loved. It was like trying to outrun a tornado. I could feel the wind pushing me, and stuff flying past me and into me, knocking me down so I had to get up again and again and push against the wind. And then suddenly it was over and the air was still. And the sun came out and the birds began to sing and it was almost as though there had never been a storm at all. I guess that’s what the Bible means about life being a vapor.
I’ve spent a little time talking to attorneys, getting recommendations about what to do next, collecting some referrals to other attorneys. I hate dealing with the legal system at all, it makes me sick in the pit of my stomach. I trust our legal system even LESS than I trust that blasted hospice. But I know if we don’t do something concrete, human nature being what it is, that company is going to continue to provide horrible service to people at their most vulnerable time, and more lives are going to be damaged. They have got to be stopped from ever having the chance to hurt someone like that. And several people have come to us with their own horror stories, and some with their positive ones. We know it CAN be done well, it can be a blessing to the family and the dying. But what would I want to come of this? Am I just wanting to punish this company for what they did to my family? Having them shut down would put a lot of people out of work, I’m sure, and that would hurt some folks who had nothing to do with the poor care we received. But I am so angry at how they handled things, there are times when I wish I could do that, just strike back as hard as they hit us with their indifference. Do I want them to offer my mother something monetary? Yes. I think this company owes her something tangible for what she went through. Fifty-five years of marriage should not end in the chaos of confusion and pain when you have HIRED a company that purports to help you get through death with less stress. For the company to prosper at the expense of my family is unthinkable.
But is there a way to make this constructive, to cause a change in the way hospiice care is offered? If I went all the way to the state level so that certain procedures were mandated by law, there are snakes who would slither through whatever cracks they could find and cut corners to make a buck and still offer crappy service. I do think whomever was supposed to manage my dad’s case should lose his or her job and never be allowed to work with a hospice again. And I think all hospice services should take a hard look at what they offer and how it’s put together. We didn’t know what to expect from hospice care. We just know what we got was nightmare after nightmare. And from those horrible experiences has emerged a list of things that should be done, some minimum services a family has a right to expect. Maybe I should do a series of articles on my news site about hospice care, get the public to become well educated about what they should (and shouldn’t) expect. Hey, there are 40,000+ readers on that site every month, it would at least be a local place to start. The power of the press is still there.