The suggestion of hospice care came as a shock to Yvonne See, a retired paramedic from the Hardy County Emergency Ambulance Authority. Although she had been relatively healthy, she went to the emergency room for what she thought was severe heartburn. The diagnosis was cancer. After numerous tests, Yvonne was told she likely had less than a year to live.
Dr. Nicholas Gemma first recommended chemotherapy. While she hoped the treatments would give her a little more time, the chemotherapy made her very ill. In a candid conversation with her doctor, Yvonne told him that six more months wasn’t worth it to her if she was going to feel so sick. That’s when he suggested hospice care.
Yvonne’s initial response was, “I don’t feel bad enough for that.” Like so many people, she had the impression that hospice care is only for the last few days or weeks of life. Initially reluctant, Yvonne decided to trust her doctor and choose hospice care. Quickly she discovered hospice wasn’t at all what she expected. And, it was just what she needed.
Hospice of the Panhandle helped Yvonne live on by remaining independent and doing the things she enjoyed, like going to the movie theater and eating out. Nurses and other members of the care team visited her at home, including a massage therapist who helped manage Yvonne’s pain. Medical equipment, including oxygen and a shower chair, were delivered to her home helping her to continue caring for herself.
Starting hospice care before she believed she needed it made all the difference. She said, “Even though you’ve been given a diagnosis, you don’t know. In the meantime, eat the cake. Do what you want to do.”
Hospice care focuses on managing symptoms to improve quality of life. Hospice of the Panhandle empowers patients to keep living their lives in ways they find fulfilling.