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December 27, 2005

Mom's Gone - Part One

Tom McLaughlin

The last group dipping into the Medicare pot before death is a group known as Hospice. In my opinion, they are a bunch of vultures waiting for the last breath to exhale from the dying. They portray themselves as a non-profit caring organization but in reality they get their money from Medicare and the millions of dollars raised in their behalf.

I called them after the doctor said it would be very good idea as the radiation wasn't working on Mom. Their first question was is Mom going to die in six months and do we have Medicare. This was asked three different times as I was bounced to three different people.

Granted, this was a Saturday, and the last person told me to wait until Monday or Tuesday. I told her I would ask Mom not to die until them. I later found out Medicare would not pay them until death was six months away and the doctor had certified that this was true.

Then, someone called me and stated someone else would call me. They did and informed me they would be here Sunday and again Monday. At 3:30, after I told Mom to hang in until they arrived, someone called and told me of how busy they were working at their desk and they would try to stop by.

By this time the new pain medication had kicked in, the kind where you still have the pain but don't care, and Mom was in bliss. I told them not to come and Monday would be fine. Word of advice! Don't die on a weekend!

So, you may ask, why did I still want Hospice? I went to the Democratic Club Christmas Party and they all asked how my situation was. When I told them my encounter with Hospice, a very knowledgeable person informed me why I absolutely needed them.

If Mom died at home without them, a chain of bureaucratic nightmares occurs. First the State Police come; then a doctor; then the medical examiner. This could last upward of five to six hours while the body gets cold. Hospice circumvents all that and you just have to call the undertaker; more on him later.

In one of my phone calls before I went to the party, I asked a person exactly what Hospice does. They informed they counsel and give advice.

"So does my bartender," I replied.

Then I asked again: "What exactly they did."

They reply was the same: "Counsel and give advice."

That's all? They said a nurse and a social worker (I always wondered where they get jobs) would help out. What do they do?

Again, the same answer: "counsel and give advice."

I really don't need a bunch of do-gooders wandering around the house. If I wanted that, I would call the Baptist Church.

A house where someone is dying in the back bedroom is not exactly a party atmosphere. People tend to shy away. Friends phone instead of coming over and invitations for dinner are declined.

Therefore, anybody who comes in is most welcome. Hitler could be member of Hospice and you would be so grateful that someone comes in and talks that a Nobel Prize nomination would not be out of the question.

This, I think, is the reason everyone who has gone through the dying process at home thinks Hospice is a God send, when, in reality, they are highly paid individuals who come in and talk.

This is Monday morning, the phone rang and a nurse is coming out. Guess what? They need the Medicare number and other insurance information. And this is the first thing they've asked.

To be continued..tomorrow!

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