A Second Little Family of Support

A Second Little Family of Support

Linda Bates first noticed a change in her husband Jim’s behavior in the summer of 2021. Forgetfulness. Lack of coordination. Confusion. She knew something was wrong, and her worst fears were confirmed soon after: the things she’d been noticing were the outward signs of glioblastoma, an aggressive and nearly always fatal cancer in Jim’s brain.

Despite treatment, Jim’s health continued to decline. He got weaker, more forgetful and his motor skills suffered. Linda began experiencing health issues of her own and she could no longer lift him when he fell. His visits to the hospital increased, and the hospital kept focusing on rehabilitation.

But Jim and Linda both knew where things were headed. It had become clear that Jim wasn’t going to get better, and that Linda couldn’t safely take care of her beloved husband at home anymore. A nurse suggested Pete Moore Hospice House.

Breathing a Sigh of Relief

“The next day, a Cascade Health medical social worker met us at the hospital and explained what would happen. She was kind and thorough and completely put me at ease that this was the right decision,” said Linda. “The moment he was admitted I was able to breathe a sigh of relief because I knew he would be safe and cared for there.”

“I came in every day,” she continued, “and the staff was always attentive: keeping him clean, turning him and even giving him his favorite foods. He always had oatmeal for breakfast. But every other meal was ice cream!”

Linda said Jim was aware of where he was, and though he really wished he could be home, was comfortable and often remarked about how wonderful everyone there was. Linda said she would sometimes come to Jim’s room to find him with a fellow military veteran who worked at the house just chatting about their experiences. His greatest joy, though, were the visits from his great grandchildren.

“His face would just light up,” said Linda. “They always made him smile, and it was comfortable for family to visit. It’s clean, homey and calm, and there are family areas like the kitchen and dining room that made it possible to gather with visiting family. Everyone had a chance to say their individual goodbyes, and I know that meant so much to Jim.”

Attentive Care Felt Like Being Part of the Family

Linda said she also appreciated how attentive Pete Moore Hospice House staff were to her. “The nurses would ask how I was doing every day, and the social workers, chaplain and doctor were always available to answer any questions I might have,” she said. “It really felt like having a second little family of support around you.”

She said this became even more important as Jim came closer to death.

“I was afraid it would be ugly and I didn’t want to remember him struggling or in pain,” she said. “But the doctor and social worker walked me through it and encouraged me to stay.”

Making You Feel Like You Matter

Linda’s two daughters-in-law and a grandson were with her, with one of her sons on his way, when Jim passed away.

“I told him I loved him and that it was okay for him to go – that I would miss him terribly but I would be okay,” she said, her voice filling with emotion. “He took a last breath and let go. It was very peaceful — almost beautiful, even. I was so glad I was there with him.”

“Another thing I really appreciated was that after he passed, we were able to stay in the room with him,” she continued. “My son arrived, and we were given the time we needed to say our goodbyes and take care of each other. When we were ready, we played Amazing Grace and the entire staff joined us to walk him out. They stood with us as his body was taken away, paying tribute – saying goodbye and supporting us. It was a comfort.”

Linda paused for a moment before concluding, “I think the most important thing was how comfortable they made all of us. I would tell anyone who couldn’t stay at home to go to Pete Moore Hospice House because they’ll do everything they can to help. They were knowledgeable and truly compassionate. And they make you feel like you matter.”