October 20, 2009 at 11:26 am (By Amba)

If you’ve been worrying about us, you can stop.  The hospice doctor came this morning (the only nonpsychotic person I’ve ever met besides us, once upon a time, who has 14, count ’em, 14 indoor cats!!) and she feels fine about recommending that J continue to be on hospice.  She sees that we need the help, but more importantly from a bureaucratic, cost-saving standpoint, based mostly on her questions to me and my uncontrived answers, I think he met the central criterion, which is (sadly) decline over time — almost a “goes without saying” with his illness.

It’s an enormous relief.  I really feared the re-isolation most.  And being love-bombed with free Depends ain’t bad, either.


  1. wj said,

    And there was much rejoicing!!!

  2. PatHMV said,


    Interesting how relative our excitement becomes. I mean, looked at from a distance, the free supply of Depends is tempered by the fact that, well, you’re taking care of someone who needs depends. My happiness for your hospice reprieve is tempered, of course, by the fact that, well, Jacques has a degenerative illness.

    But since we must accept the things we cannot change, and look at life from that perspective, then YAY!

  3. amba12 said,

    Exactly! Under the circumstances, it’s the best possible news. He didn’t have to get sicker than he is to qualify. He didn’t get punished with solitary (well, à deux) confinement for being well enough to kiss the doctor’s hand and joke with her. I love that.

  4. amba12 said,

    Of course, it’s a judgment call on her part and I’m very grateful.

  5. Icepick said,

    I’ll just add that to the good news file! It’s been accumulating in the last week. How strange is that?

  6. amba12 said,

    “As the World Turns” . . . sometimes it turns our way! :)

  7. Icepick said,

    “As the World Turns” . . . sometimes it turns our way!

    The sun also ariseth…

  8. Charlie (Colorado) said,

    #2 +1. Exclamation point.

  9. Donna B. said,

    Q – What makes you happy?
    A – Depends.

  10. amba12 said,


  11. Ron said,

    Woo Hoo!!! Depends for everybody!

  12. pathmv said,

    ROFL, Donna!

  13. trooper york said,

    That’s great news. I hope it works out for you. God bless.

  14. amba12 said,

    Thanks, thanks, thanks for the invisible flowers!

  15. anonymous said,

    Wow — I thought hospice was an end-of-life solution. Imagine if people get such free care for years how much it will cost.

    Really, for all the worldly successes you and Jacque had over the years, you never put away any money to take care of each other in old age?? Can’t your family step up, or you have no problem with shifting your personal cares to those paying taxes and caring for their own families at home for years. (have you tried clipping and saving Depends coupons, buying sales, and otherwise thinking of thrifty ways to pay for your own?)

    I’m amazed — like I was amazed with the count em 2 rent-subsidized apartments sittin empty awaiting your return — how entitled you seem to be. Aren’t you a little bit embarrassed at qualifying for the charity care, when it’s not his end of life yet, and you’re living the high live in North Carolina? Please — no more talk of your vacations and “extras” now, even if your family is paying.

  16. anonymous said,

    ps. I hope Jacques lives a long, long, long time. If the option is keeping him on cheap hospice care to help you with a team to fulfill your responsiblities, and him dying or going downhill to qualify … lots of families in the same situation as you; few would think to take all that paid “extra” help by qualifying him when it sounds like he’s got years of living still in him…

  17. amba12 said,

    Oh, hi, “Mary,” or whatever your name is. I’m allowing your comments because I somewhat agree with you, although you are speaking from a position of knowing almost nothing about us or our situation except for what your vitriol makes you imagine of others’ great good fortune. (I try to make a practice of not envying anyone, because if I had their obvious advantages I’d also have to have the costs that may not be so obvious.) We’ll see how long before you go over the line and get vile enough with someone to be banned again

  18. amba12 said,

    P.S. That said, folks, you may be tempted to get dragged into arguing with her. It’s a waste of time and will poison the comment thread real fast.

  19. david said,


  20. Mom said,

    David gave us a link to this blog. Why haven’t I got it? How do I get it?? Honey, we’ll talk–maybe today. I was scared for you for all the reasons: isolation, Depends, Despair, Uncertainty. The thing about this sort of care is that it serves the patient and the beleaguered caregiver–and the community of which they are a part with whom they have a recoprocal and affectionate connection. That community is international–we know that.

    One pinched and sour voice can’t affect the love, joy, and esteem we shower on you and J.

    Love always

    Yer Mom

  21. Donna B. said,

    Mom you are exactly right.

    And “Depends, Despair, Uncertainty” just cracks me up! It’s conjured up a faint memory of a regular HeeHaw feature, but I can’t think of the two guys who were singing.

  22. pathmv said,

    Donna, you’re probably recalling the “Gloom, Despair, and Agony On Me” skit (see Wikipedia, scroll down a bit. I don’t think it was always the same folks singing, but I’m pretty sure Roy Clark did the skit pretty regularly.

  23. jason said,

    Exceptional news, Annie! I’m so glad this worked out for the two of you.

  24. Ron said,

    Maybe the blog should be named…

    Uncertainty? Despair? Depends!

  25. Donna B. said,

    Yes, pat… that’s the one. Grandpa Jones too.

  26. Donna B. said,

    haha… Ron!

  27. Melinda said,

    Yay, under the circumstances!

    “isolation, Depends, Despair, Uncertainty.” The four horsemen of the Apocalypse.

  28. Rod said,

    Amba: Glad to see you caught a break.

  29. amba said,

    Funny you should say that since we (and a bunch of other people) just got burned out of our apartment. (Everybody got out unhurt but it was a bad, bad fire.) Actually having hospice to take over J’s care for a few days was the biggest break you could imagine — about a thousand percent. I can hardly believe it. Otherwise we’d be in a Red Cross-provided motel room struggling with the Hoyer lift, and I wouldn’t have anyone to leave him with so I could go get our temporary refuge set up.

  30. Randy said,

    Glad you are safe and the news about hospice taking care of J. at the moment is heartening. Makes the next-to-impossible marginally better, as in very difficult, I’m sure. But it will be an important difference for your mental & physical well-being given the new challenge you’re facing. Here’s hoping things go smoothly as as far as moving items and then getting back into a comparable apartment.

  31. Icepick said,

    WOW! I hope “everyone” includes the cats. Are your possessions mostly unharmed? Was your apartment directly harmed by fire, or just smoke and water? Hopefully it’s just damage to other parts of the building. Dang!

  32. amba12 said,

    Ice! That “everyone” includes the cats (and dogs) goes without saying. Turns out my neighbors right across the entryway, who were away, had contemplated asking me to feed their cats and then decided to take them along. I shudder to think: there’s no way I could have gotten in there to save them.

    We had NO fire damage, not major smoke damage — mostly smell, not soot — and even the water damage hadn’t touched the books when I got in there, although the deluge was ongoing. Yet right across the entryway/breezeway, I think the top two floors were consumed and fell through the ceiling into the ground floor.

  33. amba12 said,

    Randy, although in a way I’d rather be together with J, I think to him being comfortable, safe and stable is more important at the moment (and I can be there a lot of the time too). And to me, having the heavy responsibility for him carried by competent others at this moment is like a miracle. (I have a flash of that Monty Python scene Ruth Anne linked — refugees on the road with people heaped on carts, alive or dead.) Most important is going to be being free to get our new quarters set up as quickly as possible. If he was in a motel room there would be no way I could leave him and no one to stay with him for sufficient amounts of time (especially since the whole karate gang is going to CT today for a long-anticipated tournament).

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