DEAR ABBY: When my husband, "Jeff," and I married, we drew up a medical proxy and health-care directives should future incapacitation arise. Jeff is now terminally ill with brain cancer and has about five months to live. I had to quit working because Jeff is now my full-time job.
As his illness progresses, we have discussed placing him in a hospice. But the closer he gets to death, the more he changes his mind. He demands that I lift, jerk and pull him in and out of bed. He needs assistance eating, dressing, bathing and using the toilet and is in a wheelchair.
Jeff's tumor is growing and affecting his mental attitude. He's impatient, demanding, selfish and nasty. I'm caring for him at home because it's his home and I am his wife. At what point do I put him in a hospice facility without Jeff kicking and screaming to be let out and return home?
— End of My Rope
DEAR END: Please accept my sympathy. Your husband is sick and in pain, probably frightened and the cancer may have affected his ability to think rationally.
If you haven't discussed this with your husband's doctor, you must. It may not be necessary to place Jeff in an inpatient facility because many terminally ill patients can receive the same care in their homes. Hospice provides visits from doctors, nurses, aides and volunteers who can help with bathing your husband, changing his linens and some of the lifting that you're worried about. Contact the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization at 800-658-8898 or nhpco.org. n