As Ellen Told Kathie Lee

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Gentle Reader,

Let me be frank with you.

(That little gem comes courtesy of Daddy’s cardiologist, sitting down with him after doing the clinical evaluation for transplant, in 1997.  It has been a family favorite in times of trouble ever since.)

(Everybody should have the awesome physicians we have.  God gave us the last 16 years through them.  The skill, the trust, the humor.)

So today was Daddy’s regularly scheduled transplant clinic visit.  He was unable to make the trip, it would not have been fair to him to drag him all over north Texas.  Mama and I had some things we needed to address with his (main) doctor so we kept the appointment.

We have come to the point where it is as important, in fact more, to think of Daddy’s comfort and quality and meaning of life than it is to try to prolong or cure things.  And so that’s how it came to be that I went to the transplant center, a place I associate only with life and hope and…FORWARD, to talk to my Daddy’s doctor about hospice care.

This is a whole new world for me, because now the focus shifts from everything I have spent the last 16 years worrying about, the heart, to comfort.  His transplant doc won’t be his treating physician anymore.  THIS TERRIFIES ME.  I understand it, I “get” it, but my internal script was not ready.  I have verified with nearly everybody who will stand still long enough that the hospice care team will continue to medically support his transplant, via the same anti-rejection medicines that have kept the heart functioning beautifully since 1997.  The heart continues to function beautifully–the thing that we have established over and over is that this is NOT rejection.  It is important to me that the heart be the very thing we continue to actively manage.

Because it is not ours.

16 years ago, it was entrusted to us by a family facing something I can only imagine is quite similar to what we are facing now.  I will do anything on this earth to protect that heart so long as it is beating.

But the rest of him?  I will honor him by comforting him in the best way I know how.  By bringing in professional comforters.




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