I am nine years old, standing wide-eyed, frozen in the darkened hallway by the closed door to my parent’s bedroom. My mother is inside, gasping the words to the 23rd Psalm. Something is terribly wrong. Terribly wrong. I don’t know what it is, and I don’t ask. She’s been sick for more than a year, spending more time in bed as the months pass and recently, oxygen tanks were hauled up to her bedside.
You are dying.
I have reviewed the Cat Scans, spoken to the specialists, and studied the labs. There are many possible treatments that could be offered, but I fear they will not stem the course of all that is happening already. The tumor is too advanced, the metastases, too malignant.
I know there are many questions about chemotherapy, radiation, and feeding tubes. I would caution you to think of death as the inevitable endpoint. There are many things we can do between now and that endpoint. Some will increase your life expectancy, and some will cause pain and discomfort. The trick is to decide what is more important to you: quantity vs quality.
Today Jin Schnitzler, RN, and Chef Stephen Manno, Director of Dining Services in Glenview, share their story of how they worked as a team to help a patient and his wife experience a day of joy in hospice – all through the simple comfort of food. The duo is part of the team at our Marshak Family Hospice CareCenter in Glenview and both help spread the JourneyCare philosophy of treating the whole patient: body, mind and spirit.
Jin: When our patient arrived he could not swallow and had medical devices for nourishment. But he wanted to experience food, even if it was just to chew. So I got to talking with him and asked about his favorite food.
My path to becoming a hospice volunteer is unusual in that the first step was taken by my wife who checked out the Marshak Family Hospice CareCenter in Glenview, assuming I was going to need it.
I’d been experiencing dizzy spells that on a few occasions toppled me to the floor. Being a committed idiot, I didn’t tell anybody about this until one morning, after nearly falling down, the thought occurred that this might not be normal and that an emergency room visit just might be appropriate.