The Gift of Time
There is a common misconception that hospice is for those who have no hope. But this is a misconception the thousands of families for whom Arbor Hospice provides care for each year can easily refute. If you ask Diane Feldt, the sister of David Allen Feldt, Arbor Hospice provided more hope for her brother than he had in the previous five years when David spent the majority of his time in and out of the hospital.
David was sick for those five years, and in his final two years of life, he was hospitalized at least 20 times. He suffered from uncontrolled symptoms of three different auto-immune diseases and congestive heart failure. It was an ongoing battle that took all of his energy and focus. It wasn’t until doctors discharged David to Arbor Hospice, that he received his most incredible gift – time.
David was a successful forensic DNA specialist, working around the world to identify human remains, including those at ground zero in New York City following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. He traveled a lot, going where his work took him, providing expertise and helping to establish other forensic DNA programs. But, those travels came with a price – less time for family and friends.
“When he was discharged from the hospital, doctors told us he probably wouldn’t make it home,” Diane said. “But, he did and Arbor Hospice was there waiting for us, and the care they provided gave my brother time to spend with his kids, to say goodbye and fall in love.”
For six weeks, David received regular visits from an Arbor Hospice nurse, social worker, aide and massage therapist. The hospice philosophy of comfort, erased David’s pain and discomfort so he could finally focus on what really mattered most – his adult children.
“David got to spend a lot of time with his three kids,” Diane said. “His sons spent every night with him and his daughter and son-in-law visited from D.C. Even in his final days, David and his sons were working on some new software project. David had the chance to bestow some final wisdom to his children, and that wouldn’t have been possible without Arbor Hospice’s care.”
In the final weeks of his life, David also learned what it was like to have a once-in-a-lifetime love. Diane’s friend, Joanne, visited David each day, spending hours in conversation. By the end, David and Joanne had fallen in love and were spending hours together.
“My brother wouldn’t have had the opportunity to fall in love or spend time with his children if it wasn’t for Arbor Hospice,” Diane said. “And that’s something I can’t even begin to say thank you for.”
Arbor Hospice’s mission is to offer hope: hope that the time remaining will be pain free, hope for the healing of relationships, hope for growth, for finding meaning in life and closure. According to Diane, David could not have hoped for more; making every moment count for David, his family and friends.
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