Let Her Eat Cake...and Ice Cream!

I have a question for you:  if you knew your time on this earth was drawing to a close, and someone asked you if there was anything special you'd like to eat, anything at all...what would your answer be?  Think about it for a moment.

While you're thinking, I'll keep writing.  And, before you say "Patricia, aren't you being just a wee bit morbid today?" please remember that I spend every day from 10:00 to 2:00 in the Hospice Home with Nana/Momma/Edith.  Death...and the talk of death and dying...is ever-present.  And, thankfully, death is no longer a four-letter word for us...if you follow my drift there.  We have, quite frankly, begun to live with death...laugh about it...and lose some of our fear of it.

I can't remember if I've told you (I say that phrase quite often these days...:), but N/M/E stopped eating and drinking about 10 days ago while still here at home.  It was one of the darkest periods in this whole chapter.  When she got to Hospice Home and her medications were being administered through the port (instead of by mouth), she started to ask for sips of water occasionally, and then one day she wanted a milkshake.  It was music to our ears!

We have learned from the staff that it's OK if she doesn't want to eat...not to force it.  We've been told that as a body starts the dying process, it no longer needs food or fluids like it once did. Just follow her lead on this.

We started to notice that she rarely touched the soups, sandwiches, or other dishes on her tray...but she almost always ate anything sweet that arrived at meal time:  cakes, pies, cobblers, Krispy Kreme donuts, ice cream, etc.  Interesting.  Part of the explanation is that one of the medications she is getting (a steroid) causes a craving for sweets.  And, part of it is that this is perfectly normal behavior.  One staff member told me that her mother hated chocolate all of her life...until the very end, when all she wanted was chocolate cake!

You have to see the humor in the irony of this.  N/M/E dieted off-and-on for most of her life, battling a weight problem, and "sweets" were often on the taboo list.  Now?  Bring 'em on...line 'em up...and let me at 'em!  Diabetes be damned!!

So, today, after N/M/E had asked for a second dish of orange sherbet...and turned her nose up at the soup-and-sandwich combo...I asked if there was anything I could bring her that she would enjoy eating.  Anything at all.

She thought for a moment and gave me her answer with a big smile:  a pimiento cheese sandwich, a homemade sweet pickle, and an ice cold slice of watermelon. 

Oh, and a Butterfinger candy bar.

Guess what's on the menu for tomorrow at lunch?

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