Being A Hospice Nurse To My Father

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Linda Scruggs for Huffington Post | March 3, 2016

It has always struck me how the most powerful and wealthy can have almost anything they desire, yet our most valuable commodity remains elusive to all. The time we are given. When Steve Jobs passed away in 2011 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, I remember thinking that this man had changed the world. He had access to any form of healthcare imaginable and yet even he couldn’t alter the time left in his clock.

Ten years ago next month, I was sitting in a bedroom in my parent’s house beside my father. I had taken a leave of absence from my nursing job (thanks to the incredibly generous physicians I still work with) to care for him as his hospice nurse. Clouded by grief and fear as a caregiver, I’ve realized since then that the time we had is now a priceless gift. Upon discharge from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center just three weeks earlier, we had been forced to accept that no additional treatment options existed. He had spent 17 months battling Mantle-Cell Lymphoma, a rare and aggressive form of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and it was time to go home. A valiant fight through a ruptured spleen, an autologous stem-cell transplant, and dozens of chemotherapy treatments, the fighting, was over.

My brother had come home as well, and together we helped my father pull off some last-minute wishes. Changing out the lightbulbs so my mother wouldn’t have to worry was an absolute priority.


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